Scottish Premiership
St Johnstone1Rangers4

St Johnstone 1-4 Rangers

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Highlights: St Johnstone 1-4 Rangers

Rangers swept aside St Johnstone to narrow the gap on Premiership leaders Celtic to six points.

The visitors were three goals ahead by half-time, with James Tavernier opening the scoring from the spot after Alan Mannus fouled Alfredo Morelos.

Josh Windass and Sean Goss struck again before the interval, with Morelos notching the fourth after the break.

St Johnstone managed a consolation effort when Jason Kerr headed in Liam Craig's corner kick.

The win was Rangers' fifth straight victory, with their next league game coming at Ibrox against the defending champions Celtic.

Rangers' Josh Windass scores against St Johnstone
Josh Windass scored Rangers' second goal after good build-up play by Greg Docherty

The visitors took command of the game at McDiarmid Park with a casual assertiveness. A simple ball over the top of the St Johnstone defence was enough to create alarm, and as Morelos pulled away from home defender Aaron Comrie, Mannus rushed from his goal and toppled the Rangers striker.

Mannus was booked, Tavernier converted from the spot, and St Johnstone reeled. The game had, until then, only been marked by moments of personal distress for St Johnstone midfielder Murray Davidson, who was hurt in one incident by his own team-mate then suffered a clash of heads with Windass.

Both recovered, and the latter's play was unruffled. He has been in prolific form this season, ghosting into threatening areas from a role just behind the main striker.

Rangers midfielder Sean Goss scores against St Johnstone
Rangers midfielder Sean Goss swept in his side's third goal from a free-kick

His goal on this occasion - his 10th in seven games - was familiar in its movement and its execution. The powerful, dynamic figure of Greg Docherty created it, playing a one-two with Daniel Candeias before stabbing a ball through the home defence for Windass, who struck it first time with confidence and deftness past Mannus.

The ease with which Rangers breached the St Johnstone defence would have enraged the Perth side's manager Tommy Wright. St Johnstone's only attacking foray in the opening half came when George Williams struck an effort on target that Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham pushed over.

It was a fleeting intervention, though. As Rangers probed forward again, Jamie Murphy gathered possession and surged towards a gap in the home rearguard. Davidson slid in to tackle, but referee Steven McLean judged that the midfielder caught Murphy before the ball, and awarded a free-kick.

Rangers' Alfredo Morelos scores against St Johnstone
Rangers' Alfredo Morelos is the Premiership's leading scorer after a deft header against St Johnstone

Windass had a hand in the execution, persuading Tavernier that it was perfectly situated for a left-footed player, and Goss stepped up to sweep the ball into the corner of the net.

The home side showed some spirit after the break, but Kerr headed wide at the end of a short period of pressure. It might have been a reminder to Rangers to not let their momentum slip.

Goss continued to be an elegantly effective figure in midfield, and one volleyed pass into the path of Windass sent Rangers on a counter-attack, but the forward's ball infield towards Morelos travelled too close to Mannus, who grabbed it in relief.

Rangers winger Jamie Murphy injured at St Johnstone
Rangers' winger Jamie Murphy hobbled off after suffering a foot injury

Morelos wasn't to be denied, though, and moments later he artfully guided Tavernier's cross through Mannus's arms from a tight angle. The goal moved him clear of Kris Boyd as the Premiership's leading scorer.

If Wright could take any solace from the game, it was in the refusal of his players to succumb to disillusionment. Substitute David Wotherspoon drew a save from Foderingham, before Kerr found the target with a powerful header from Liam Craig's corner.

The game began to peter out, although there was a setback for the visitors when Murphy had to be replaced after suffering what appeared to be a toe injury. He was replaced by the centre-back Bruno Alves, but the outcome, by then, was already established.

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1MannusBooked at 12mins
  • 6Anderson
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 15Kerr
  • 14Comrie
  • 11Williams
  • 4Alston
  • 28Willock
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 39minsSubstituted forWotherspoonat 58'minutes
  • 26Craig
  • 25KaneBooked at 45minsSubstituted forJohnstoneat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Millar
  • 9MacLean
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 12Clark
  • 17Johnstone
  • 23Gordon
  • 36Thomson

Rangers

  • 1Foderingham
  • 2Tavernier
  • 24Bates
  • 33Martin
  • 16HallidayBooked at 30mins
  • 48Docherty
  • 27Goss
  • 21CandeiasSubstituted forCummingsat 62'minutes
  • 11Windass
  • 28MurphySubstituted forBruno Alvesat 77'minutes
  • 20Morelos

Substitutes

  • 9Miller
  • 15Herrera
  • 17Hodson
  • 22Bruno Alves
  • 23Holt
  • 25Alnwick
  • 26Cummings
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
5,737

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home7
Away8
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home9
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, St. Johnstone 1, Rangers 4.

Full Time

Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 1, Rangers 4.

Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

Attempt blocked. Jason Cummings (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by George C Williams (St. Johnstone).

James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Bruno Alves replaces Jamie Murphy because of an injury.

Foul by Blair Alston (St. Johnstone).

Jamie Murphy (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

David Bates (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Denny Johnstone (St. Johnstone).

Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

Foul by Denny Johnstone (St. Johnstone).

David Bates (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Andy Halliday.

Attempt saved. Sean Goss (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Matty Willock (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Denny Johnstone replaces Christopher Kane.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Jason Cummings replaces Daniel Candeias.

Goal!

Goal! St. Johnstone 1, Rangers 4. Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) header from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Liam Craig with a cross following a corner.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Andy Halliday.

Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. David Wotherspoon replaces Murray Davidson because of an injury.

Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Goal!

Goal! St. Johnstone 0, Rangers 4. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) header from the right side of the six yard box to the top right corner. Assisted by James Tavernier.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.

Attempt missed. Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Russell Martin.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Daniel Candeias.

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by David Bates (Rangers).

Second Half

Second Half begins St. Johnstone 0, Rangers 3.

Half Time

First Half ends, St. Johnstone 0, Rangers 3.

Booking

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic28197256183864
2Rangers29184759322758
3Aberdeen28164843331052
4Hibernian2813964032848
5Hearts2991282927239
6Kilmarnock2791083436-237
7Motherwell28105133437-335
8St Johnstone2786132540-1530
9Dundee2884163043-1328
10Hamilton2675143648-1226
11Partick Thistle2866162647-2124
12Ross County2856172948-1921
View full Scottish Premiership table

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