Ruthless Glasgow Rangers extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a routine 5-0 home win over Ross County.
First-half goals from Ryan Kent, Filip Helander and Joe Aribo gave the Gers the lead before half-time and after Ryan Jack scored to mark his comeback from injury, Connor Goldson added the icing on the cake to put Steven Gerrard’s side in control.
The win has now established a comfortable cushion between them and their arch-rivals Celtic with a stroke of good fortune as well after County hit the woodwork after the break.
Gerrard made one change from the draw with Motherwell with Leon Balogun the only one to drop to the bench.
However, Helander stepped up in his absence and he played like he had a point to prove after he headed Rangers into a two-goal lead.
But it was his defensive contributions at the back that perhaps should not go unnoticed especially in light of Balogun’s defensive meltdown against Motherwell.
Against the Staggies, Helander made one tackle and three clearances, that being the best of all defenders and the highest overall out of every Rangers player during his time on the pitch, which suggests that Gerrard was duly rewarded with his decision to recall him to the starting line-up.
It’s worth pointing out the 27-year-old is currently averaging 2.2 clearances per game in the Scottish Premiership this season, further confirming that he was playing a level above his usual standard against the Staggies.
Not only was he a colossal at the back, but he was a potent threat in attack as well, as he also won six out of his ten duels overall (60%), drifting away from his marker to bury the ball into the back of the net with a header from Borna Barisic’s corner.
John Hughes’ side failed to dribble past the centre-back once during the full 90′ minutes, suggesting that he got the better of his opposition, who all earned poor ratings for their performances apart from goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw.
It’s fair to say that Helander has somewhat struggled for game time under Gerrard since the start of this season after he succumbed to injury as it gave Balogun an early opportunity to establish himself at the back.
However, off the back of such a cool and assured display from the Swede, he has surely earned more playing time.
AND in other news, Rangers would be signing another Ryan Kent in Francis Amuzu…