Rangers now need just two more wins to clinch the Scottish Championship and return to Scotland’s top flight after defeating Queen of the South 4-3 at Ibrox.
Harry Forrester set the Gers on their way, putting the light blues in front after 14 minutes. Creating a one-two with Andy Halliday, a great flick by Halliday set the Englishman through on goal as he calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Queens managed to claw their way back into the game with Ian Russell converting his penalty after he was brought down by captain Lee Wallace who could have no complaints with the decision.
The Govan side did not look like their usual free-flowing selves in the first half but responded well by coming out the blocks quickly in the second period.
It was a quite unbelievable start to the second half with three goals in just nine minutes as Rangers looked like heading for a comprehensive victory.
The first of these a superb strike from Michael O’Halloran – The January signing showing the Rangers faithful what he could do after dispatching a shot into the top corner past the on-rushing keeper Robbie Thomson.
Halliday made it 3-1 after Jason Holt played a delicious chipped pass into the path of veteran Kenny Miller, who then sent a cross into Halliday who finished with an overhead kick.
James Tavernier, who had failed to score in 14 games, ended his barren run after another Miller assist set the right-back up with a simple shot from six yards out.
Rangers were rampant and there could have been more goals in this period as they began to shift through the gears with Queens looking helpless.
However, an ever-resilient Queen of the South continued to dig in and they took advantage of Rangers’ defensive woes and got themselves back in the game through a Gary Oliver strike at the back post.
The Doonhamers made the late stages of the game tense for the home support; substitute Mark Millar scoring in stoppage time as Queens looked for what would be a dramatic equaliser.
Queens could not draw themselves level for the second time in the match, and Rangers now have a commanding 14-point lead over second placed Falkirk.
This frantic game featured some exciting end-to-end football, although for Mark Warburton, this may be an unwanted sight as his side have now conceded six goals in their last two games.
This comes after good performances at the back recently, with Dominic Ball solidifying things in the holding midfield role.
Halliday took note of the recent dip in quality of performance telling the Rangers website that they should not “limp over the line” when it comes to winning the title.
Halliday added: “We want to win the title in style because our results and performances since the start of the season deserve that”.
However, Rangers got the win and many will argue that is all that matters at this stage of the season.
The result means Rangers can win the title next weekend at Stark’s Park against Raith Rovers if Hibernian fail to beat St Mirren.
Despite this, the games come thick and fast for Rangers now as they head into a defining month in their season.
The chance to win the title, The Petrofac Training Cup and the small matter of a mouth-watering Old Firm clash for a place in the Scottish Cup Final all come in the space of just three weeks.
This, coupled with trips to Easter Road, St Mirren and their final home game of the season against Alloa, make it a hugely significant month for the Ibrox club.
Mark Warburton’s side have it all to do, but it could truly be a magical month for the man with the supposed magic hat.
Image Credit: Tom Brogan (tombrogan, flickr)