St Johnstone manager Steven MacLean singled out Rabbi Matondo for praise after the Rangers winner scored with a wonderful effort during Saturday’s 2-0 Scottish Premiership win at McDiarmid Park.
Last week, Rabbi Matondo’s former coach at Cercle Brugge was reminiscing about the Welshman’s fantastic loan spell at the Belgian outfit in 2021/22, highlighting his penchant for what Miron Muslic refers to as his ‘Thierry Henry finish’ (Rangers Review).
Cutting inside onto his favoured right foot and slotting cooly into the far corner. A move straight out of the Arsenal legend’s playbook.
It certainly felt fitting, then, that Matondo would open his league account for the new campaign only a few days later, scoring with precisely the kind of Henry-like effort Muslic spoke about.
Matondo raced onto a defence-splitting Tom Lawrence pass and feathered past Dimitar Mitov with only ten minutes of normal time remaining. In fact, if Matondo had been wearing red rather than blue, you’d have been forgiven for assuming this was Henry himself in his mid-noughties’ pomp.
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Rabbi Matondo scores as Rangers beat St Johnstone
“We spoke about during the week that Rangers put a lot of crosses in the box. And we don’t mark in the box, which is disappointing,” MacLean sighs, Matondo sealing the win after Danilo crashed home a trademark James Tavernier cross in the first half.
“And then the second goal. We are in possession of the ball, we give it away, and we get done in transition.
“Matondo is very quick so you’ve got to credit him for that. But when you’re in possession of the ball, you don’t want to give it away in that area.”
Muslic also expressed his belief that, when firing and full of confidence, Matondo is a potential ‘£15 million’ footballer. And a lively start to his second season at Rangers is starting to make his actual price tag – reported to be around £3 million – look like money well spent.
‘A step in the right direction’
“Delighted for Rabbi, because he’s come on in games and had a big impact and has missed that type of chance before,” a relieved Beale tells Rangers Review; substitute Lawrence also making his mark after a long-term injury absence.
“I thought it was an excellent goal And well done to Tom Lawrence. Straight back in, first 90 minutes in a long time.
“It’s a step in the right direction. There were moments I was really happy with and others we’ve got to work on. St Johnstone never makes it easy here.”