Rangers maintained their impressive form of late to beat St Johnstone 4-1 at McDairmid Park. All four goals had elements of excellent football, with the second a particular highlight. Whilst the team weren’t as strong in the second half as in the first, they more than earned a lot of praise.

Rangers were forced to make one change from the team which started against Hearts. A groin injury for Declan John meant that Andy Halliday started at left back. St Johnstone made a number of changes from their last match, most notably in formation. They moved to a 4-5-1, with MacLean dropping to the bench. Loanees Willock and Williams started, as did Comrie at left back.


The game started at a somewhat slow pace. A couple of knocks involving Murray Davidson meant the physio was on twice in the first 6 minutes. St Johnstone were sitting very deep and looking to frustrate. Rangers, on the other hand, were looking to lift the tempo. That paid off on the 13th minute as they opened the scoring.

There didn’t look to be much danger as Rangers were keeping possession in their own half. Sean Goss had time to look up from deep in his own half, and spotted the excellent runs of Candeias and Morelos. His ball over the top was perfect, and Morelos was sent through on goal. He took a touch to round the keeper, and was brought down for a clear penalty. Mannus received a yellow card, then had to pick the ball out of the net as Tavernier made no mistake with the spot kick.

That seemed to push Rangers on, and they pressed for a second goal. On the 21st minute, some excellent link up between Docherty and Murphy sent the winger to the byline. His cut back found Morelos, but the striker seemed to swing at the ball too early and completely fluffed his shot.

Five minutes later, Rangers made it 2-0. In recent matches, there’s been good team goals and excellent attacking play. This goal may just be the pick of the bunch, somehow. Rangers were moving the ball from one flank to another in a controlled fashion in the St Johnstone half. Docherty was central to a lot of that, and he was the one to change the tempo and focus with a nice pass into Candeias. The winger had moved into the centre, and used his strength to hold the ball up. He knocked a ball back into Docherty, who played an inch-perfect first time pass. Josh Windass had made a great run, was clearly onside, and smashed the ball home on his right foot. The nature of the controlled play, the technique behind the through ball, the movement – all of it was top drawer, a real sign of the confidence Rangers are playing with.

Up until this point, St Johnstone had offered nothing of note in an attacking sense. They created their only real chance of the first half on 30 minutes. A cross from Liam Craig was nodded back into the box, and Williams met it with a good strike. Wes Foderingham reacted quickly to turn the shot over the bar.

Rangers had seen a goal chopped off for what looked like a foul by David Bates. On closer inspection, the decision seemed to be wrong. As such, it was almost a sense of balance that a little luck was involved in the third goal.

Jamie Murphy picked up the ball midway in the opposing half, and ran at the defence. He best a couple of players before Murray Davidson slid in and stopped him. The referee gave the foul on the edge of the box and booked Davidson. However, replays suggested that the decision may have been harsh. Certainly, the St Johnstone midfielder got a touch on the ball.

After a bit of consultation, Sean Goss stepped up to take the free kick. He curled it just over the wall and it dipped into the bottom corner with the keeper unable to get there. After 39 minutes, Rangers were 3-0 up.


Due to the scoreline, the weather, and the fact this was the second game in 4 days, it was always unlikely that the second half would be as strong as the first. St Johnstone showed something of a reaction from the first whistle. They got the ball forward, and won a few corners and free kicks. One of them was put just wide by Kerr with a header.

Rangers weren’t as dynamic, but were still a threat. Only 10 minutes into the second half, they added to their lead. Candeias, Morelos and Windass attempted to link up, but the pass from the Englishman was too heavy. The Portuguese winger pressed a mistake out of the St Johnstone defender, however, and Rangers won a throw in. An easy ball back to Tavernier gave the full back time to cross, and it was met by Morelos beyond the front post. Somehow, the striker got his head to the ball and flicked it over the keeper to make it 4-0. It was a very tight angle, and seemed somehow impossible.

Rangers then lost a goal 5 minutes later. A corner by Liam Craig was met by Kerr at the back post for a simple finish. Foderingham had been caught under the ball running into a number of players. Martin had been beaten on the run whilst marking his man. It was a poor moment of defending, but one that wasn’t in any way damaging.

Rangers had some chances on the counter attack to extend the lead. One in particular saw an outstanding pass from Goss picked up by Windass. Morelos was supporting him to his left, and they were only faced by 1 defender and the goalkeeper. Windass tried to play the pass with the outside of his right foot, and the angle was poor and Mannus able to get to the ball first.

From there, Rangers largely managed the game. The only real moment of worry came when Jamie Murphy had to be substituted due to injury.


It’s strange to come away from such a comprehensive win and feel a little bit of disappointment. However, our players seem to be feeling that way, as indicated by Murty after the match. The second half was mostly just played out without any real need for tempo or impetus. The biggest worry for the fans will be the injury to Murphy. His contribution of late has been key in the improvement of the team.

St Johnstone had kept a couple of clean sheets leading into this match. They can be difficult to break down if they play well. The game at Ibrox earlier this season showed just how these matches can go. For Rangers to go into this game with the confidence they did, and play in such a way that the confidence was more than justified, shows that the team has improved a lot in a short space of time.



Mannus, Alston, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Davidson (Wotherspoon 58), Williams, Comrie, Kerr, Kane (Johnstone 62), Craig, Willock.

SUBS NOT USED: Clark, Millar, MacLean, Gordon, Thomson

BOOKINGS: Mannus, Davidson, Kane


Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates, Martin, Halliday, Goss, Docherty, Murphy (Alves 77), Windass, Candeias (Cummings 62), Morelos.

SUBS NOT USED: Alnwick, Herrera, Holt, Miller, Hodson

BOOKINGS: Halliday