Rangers recover but Candeias the saviour is treated harshly St Mirren 0 Rangers 2 Graham Spiers November 5 2018, 12:01am, The Times Candeias celebrates his goal but was later sent off after receiving a second yellow card Candeias celebrates his goal but was later sent off after receiving a second yellow card JEFF HOLMES/PA Share Save Rangers were ecstatic at the end of this affair, as well they might have been. For fully 80 minutes St Mirren were, sometimes desperately, holding them at bay until Daniel Candeias’s “wonder strike” from out on the right flank. Had St Mirren held on it would have been a fifth successive match in which Rangers had appeared laboured. As it was, a gorgeous Alfredo Morelos strike in stoppage time put this game to bed. The Rangers support was in full, and dodgy, voice in the wake of this victory. When you see such scenes as these — sheer euphoria at the final whistle at beating a hopeless St Mirren — you appreciate again the mill that these supporters have been through over the past six years. With these Rangers wins, perspective is everything. The Steven Gerrard regime remains exciting and uncertain, but this was a must-win game. A cup semi-final defeat by Aberdeen and a home draw against Kilmarnock in the previous six days meant Rangers and their young manager had some public standing to restore. With a slice of luck, and a flash of skill, Rangers pulled it off. There was quite a mystery about it, too, not least in the weird sending-off of Candeias right on the final whistle by referee Willie Collum. No-one could fathom what Candeias had done to warrant a second yellow card, and TV footage appeared to confirm his innocence. Yet Collum suspected that Candeias and Anton Ferdinand had had a bust-up — they had not — and flourished a yellow card to both, although the referee was clearly clawing in the dark. Collum, in truth, was not sure what he had seen. It was a ridiculous booking and red card. Gerrard was in the press room later surrounded by journalists when the Candeias/Ferdinand incident was being replayed on a TV screen. On close-up, there seemed next to nothing going on between the two players, and certainly nothing perceptible that Candeias had done wrong. If anything, Ferdinand was the aggressor. “There’s your evidence,” said Gerrard with derision. “That’s what you’re dealing with. That is embarrassing.” Later, Craig Samson, the St Mirren goalkeeper, explained that Candeias had been goading Ferdinand after Rangers’ second goal — “goading”: the in-word of Scottish football this past week — and that this was the root of the episode. If there is any justice, the Portuguese winger will have his red card rescinded. This is all turning into a Ladbrokes Premiership nightmare for Oran Kearney and St Mirren. That is now seven defeats in eight games for the Saints manager since he replaced Alan Stubbs, which must be sobering for the likeable Irishman. Kearney, with his sub-standard players, looked a forlorn and powerless figure on the touchline. There is next to nothing he can do in the here and now. –– ADVERTISEMENT –– Morelos scored the goal that sealed the win after Rangers were frustrated by St MirrenMorelos scored the goal that sealed the win after Rangers were frustrated by St Mirren JEFF HOLMES/PA No magic wand can make someone like Ryan Edwards somehow compete and thrive at this level. St Mirren did create two decent chances in the opening half — both were saved by Allan McGregor — but they were utterly incapable of making a mark on Rangers, even after the visitors had taken the lead. The Paisley side are in big trouble, with no hero among them to haul them out of it. Samson and his goal had led a slightly charmed life before Candeias’s breakthrough goal set Rangers on their course. The winger despatched a shot from the right wing which flew as straight as an arrow as it fizzed past the startled St Mirren goalie and into his top right-hand corner. “I’ve never seen one like that before, at least not on purpose,” Gerrard joked, claiming that Candeias had said he meant it. Samson later called Candeias “a jammy bastard” for having scored with what was meant to be a cross. St Mirren, playing into a stiff breeze after the break, simply couldn’t get out of their half. They offered next to nothing as this match petered out, forever giving the ball away, none worse at that than Edwards. Morelos pounced in the dying moments to whip a shot past Samson for a 14th goal of the season to confirm the win. Next up for Gerrard and Rangers: Moscow on Thursday. Next up for St Mirren: Dundee away on Saturday. No guesses as to who needs the win more desperately. How they rated St Mirren (4-2-3-1): C Samson 5 — P McGinn 6 (sub: C Macpherson 66, 5), A Jones 5, A Ferdinand 5, E Erhahon 6 — I McShane 4, S McGinn 4 — D Mullen 4 (sub: C Cooke 83), M Willock 5 (sub: J Kirkpatrick 61, 4), R Edwards 3 — S Jackson 3. Substitutes not used D Rogers, C Smith, J Baird, A Hammill. Booked Ferdinand, Erhahon, McShane. Rangers (4-2-1-3): A McGregor 6 — J Tavernier 5, C Goldson 6, J Worrall 5, A Halliday 5 — R Jack 6, O Ejaria 6 (sub: J Rossiter 87) — S Arfield 5 — R Kent 5, A Morelos 7, E Grezda 5 (sub: D Candeias 55, 6). Substitutes not used W Foderingham, J Flanagan, N Katic, L Coulibaly, G Middleton. Booked Jack, Arfield. Sent off Candeias.