Rangers fell to a very disappointing 3-1 home defeat on Saturday against St Johnstone. It was an abject performance from the team, which ended a run of recent good results. The team hadn’t played well in the previous two matches, and somehow managed to be even worse against the Perth side.

With Kenny Miller injured, Bruno Alves was captain on the day. Daniel Candeias started as Rangers moved to a 4-3-3. St Johnstone started with 1 up top themselves, and were happy to let Rangers have easy possession in their own half.

In the first couple of minutes, the fans were given a foreshadowing of what was to come. A deep cross by Ricky Foster saw Foderingham come way out to claim it. He never got there, and was beaten to the ball by Denny Johnstone. His header crawled wide as the crowd and Rangers defence held their breath.

Despite this, it was Rangers who took an early lead in the 5th minute. Ryan Jack made an interception in the St Johnstone half, and drove forward. He slipped in Morelos to his right, and the striker took one touch then lashed the ball home. It was a goal very reminiscent of the strike against Partick Thistle earlier in the season. The players celebrated, and the crowd believed the team was set to kick on.

In many ways, though, the goal masked a poor start to the game from Rangers. The equaliser was only 5 minutes away, as a cross was headed clear by Alves and fell to Alston. His left-footed shot curled just inside the post, a great strike that Foderingham had no chance with. The goal came about from a couple of mistakes. The Alves header should have been placed elsewhere, and Jack was caught out when looking to win the second ball. However, the quality of the strike should not be ignored.

From there, the first half followed a certain pattern. Rangers were given a lot of the ball, but were too intent on playing the easy pass. The possession was slow, which meant space wasn’t being found in advanced areas. St Johnstone were happy to let Rangers play in front of them, and any passes in behind were rarely accurate. The only real chance Rangers created in this spell was a free kick from Alves which was well blocked.

The half played out in rather boring fashion. As a fan, you were convinced the team would be better in the second half. Sadly, that wasn’t to be the case.

The crowd were growing more restless, and some of the refereeing decisions were causing big reactions. The team wasn’t creating anything of note, and Niko Kranjcar was stripped and ready to come on. It was supposed to be a game-changing moment. It was on the park, though, that things changed.

Some loose play by Holt and Morelos gave St Johnstone possession. They were given far too much time to float in a cross. Danny Wilson got caught under the ball, and Denny Johnstone placed his header across goal to make it 2-1. With only 28 minutes left, Rangers were behind.

The best chances to equalise fell to Josh Windass. The first was a low shot from the right which was just wide. The second was a great chance, when Tavernier whipped in what looked like a perfect cross. Windass couldn’t get above the ball, though, and his header went well over.

And then St Johnstone put the game beyond doubt. Poor efforts to clear the ball saw Graham Cummins get space in the box. The attempt to block the shot by Declan John saw him somehow just jump out of the way, and Cummins placed the ball into the far post. After 71 minutes, St Johnstone were 3-1 up, and Ibrox started to empty.

Rangers weren’t creating much, and that didn’t change. They had two chances to reduce the deficit. The first came from excellent link-up play between Kranjcar and Herrera which sent Tavernier through. He took an extra touch and the ball was cleared. The second was a free kick in a good area which Kranjcar put just over the bar. The final whistle almost felt like it came 10 minutes too late.

Rangers got the defeat they deserved on the day. There wasn’t any luck in the St Johnstone performance, as they deliberately played to let Rangers have all of the ball. Teams can often be dragged into playing slow when other sides sit in. St Johnstone got their tactics spot on and Rangers never raised their level to the required heights.

RANGERS (4-1-2-3):

Foderingham; Tavernier, Alves, Wilson (Herrera 76), John; McCrorie; Holt, Jack; Candeias (Kranjcar 62), Windass, Morelos.
SUBS: Kelly, Hodson, Bates, Barjonas, Hardie.
GOALS: Morelos 5
BOOKINGS: Holt, Wilson

ST JOHNSTONE (4-4-1-1):

Clark; Foster, Shaugnessy, Anderson, Tanser; Alston, Millar, Paton, Craig (McClean 90); Scougall (Wotherspoon 70), Johnstone (Cummins 70)
SUBS: Mannus, MacLean, Gordon, Thomson
GOALS: Alston 10, Johnstone 61, Cummins 71
BOOKINGS: Johnstone, Craig, Anderson, Wotherspoon