Ross County 1-2 Rangers
Jason Cummings came off the bench to score his first Rangers goal and seal his new club’s 2-1 win over Ross County in Dingwall.
Graeme Murty’s men were ahead midway through the first period thanks to Daniel Candeias’ strike, but despite dominating the possession stats for large spells, the visitors found chances hard to come by.
That was until former Hibernian striker Cummings – now on loan at Ibrox from Nottingham Forest – made his mark five minutes after replacing Alfredo Morelos as he fired the winner to move Rangers back up to second place.
County did pull one back through David Ngog’s late penalty but the former Liverpool striker’s goal was not enough to prevent them slipping six points adrift at the bottom.
Rangers benefited from a goalkeeping gaffe on their last trip to the Highlands back in August.
On that occasion it was Scott Fox who was the guilty party as he gave Morelos an empty net to score in.
This time Irishman Aaron McCarey was between the sticks but he was no more secure.
The warning signs were there just 90 seconds in when the keeper fired the ball straight at Candeias. He had to have two attempts at catching the Portuguese winger’s strike before it slipped over his shoulder and flew into his own net.
A combination of McCarey and Kenny van der Weg then kept out Jamie Murphy as he had two attempts at scoring.
But like Fox earlier this season, the blame for Rangers’ 21st-minute opener lay firmly with County’s keeper.
Candeias collected a pass from Josh Windass and was allowed to drive forward. His shot was well hit but McCarey had to do better than let it slip through his grasp.
A Morelos strike squirmed wide soon after while McCarey did calm his nerves by stopping Sean Goss’ powerful drive before clawing out Murphy’s deft header from another pinpoint James Tavernier delivery late in the firsthalf.
County had offered almost nothing in an attacking sense before the break and found themselves on the back foot again four minutes after the restart.
Candeias released Windass, who cut inside Jason Naismith but found himself foiled by McCarey.
But as Rangers’ tempo slowed, the hosts grew in confidence. Their appeals for a penalty were, however, turned down after David Bates was unable to get his hands out of the way of Ross Draper’s close-range header.
New Rangers signings Greg Docherty and Cummings were then introduced and they both helped give the Glaswegian side a fresh lease of life.
Cummings grabbed the crucial second with eight minutes left as he picked up Draper’s loose ball, drove forward and beat McCarey from the edge of the area – sparking a small pitch invasion.
But there were still a few stoppage-time nerves for the visitors after Russell Martin conceded a penalty for a harsh handball call, with Ngog tucking home from the penalty spot.