Ross County has won three games in a row under Michael Beale.


Rangers cut the gap to Celtic to six points with a one-goal victory over Ross County, their third in a row under Michael Beale.

Ten minutes after the break, John Lundstram’s low drive found the back of the net, but there were nervous moments before the midfielder eased some visiting tension.

Jon McLaughlin saved a close-range shot from George Harmon.

County never threatened again after that, as Rangers cruised to another three points under their new manager.

“It didn’t have the drama of the previous two games,” Beale said. “However, I’m overjoyed with that.

“We looked a little tired at times, and we weren’t as sharp in the final third, but to be honest, it was pretty comfortable.”

The “most important thing,” according to Beale, is that the visitors won for the third time in a row, and it puts the onus back on Celtic to reclaim their lead when they host St Johnstone on Saturday.

‘It’s job done again for Beale and Rangers,’ says the podcast.
Read the reaction to the Rangers’ victory.
Keep up with the latest Ross County news.

Rangers were forced to play without goalkeeper Allan McGregor due to illness, and Scott Arfield earned a start following the midfielder’s double against Aberdeen as Beale shuffled his pack ahead of the busy holiday schedule.

As Alfredo Morelos was dropped to the bench, Fashion Sakala was given the central striking role, and the Zambian lashed wastefully wide as Rangers began the more dangerous side.

However, the defensive frailty that plagued Rangers’ first two wins under Beale reappeared as defender Harmon rose at the back post, only for his downward header to find the foot of McLaughlin from close range.

Owura Edwards, on loan from Bristol City, then flashed a low drive across the face of goal.

Rangers’ confidence appeared to be shaken, but they took the lead when Lundstram, starting in midfield after recovering from a knock, fired low past goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw from 18 yards.

After Sakala slid in from 10 yards shortly after the break, Laidlaw’s legs came to the rescue as he blocked.

Rangers’ hearts were in their mouths as Kazeem Olaigbe burst clear only for the on-loan Southampton midfielder to find the side-netting, and Rabbi Matondo was denied one-on-one by Laidlaw late on.

Adam Devine was named match winner (Rangers)

Both sides are still looking for answers – analysis
After coming from behind to win 3-2 against Hibernian and Aberdeen, this was further evidence that new manager Beale has work to do if he is to quickly transform Rangers into a force capable of truly challenging Celtic for the title.

Rangers lack a forward focus without the injured Antonio Colak, who scored a double against County at Ibrox in August, and are still looking for someone capable of opening up a tightly packed defence for whoever leads the line.

County, who drop to second bottom behind Kilmarnock, were unable to replicate their thrilling 3-3 January draw against Rangers and have yet to beat the Glasgow club in 21 meetings, but they will take heart from keeping the visiting fans on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.

Limiting Rangers to a single goal, despite the fact that they had scored 28 goals in their previous seven meetings, could be viewed as a moral victory by manager Malky Mackay.

Beale will also emphasise the positives, such as keeping the pressure on Celtic while his team struggles to find form.

What they had to say
“I was really proud of the players,” said Ross County manager Malky Mackay. I knew we had to start on the front foot, and I thought the more we did, the better it got, especially in the first half.