St Johnstone vs. Rangers – Football Match Report – February 27, 2018
Rangers produced another ruthless display as they smashed St Johnstone 4-1 at McDiarmid Park.
Goals from James Tavernier, Josh Windass, Sean Goss and Alfredo Morelos handed Gers the most comfortable of victories as they registered five straight wins in all competitions for the first time since March 2016.
Jason Kerr pulled one back for Saints but it was nowhere near enough to dent the surging belief of their visitors, who have now struck 19 times since losing to Hibernian at the beginning of the month.
The result again draws them to within six points of Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic, who will look to respond when they host Dundee on Wednesday. Saints, meanwhile, could surrender eighth place should Neil McCann’s team cause an upset at Parkhead.
Rangers had come close to ticking off five-in-a-row just before Christmas — only for Saints to stun Graeme Murty’s men with a 3-1 Ibrox win.
But there was never any danger of a repeat as Rangers gave another glimpse of their growing confidence under the leadership of their former Under-20s boss by grabbing control of the action from the outset.
It took just 12 minutes for them to expose the hosts as Goss’ ball over top was allowed to sail beyond the motionless Saints rearguard.
Morelos was onto it in a flash but just as he pulled the trigger he was crudely poleaxed by home goalkeeper Alan Mannus.
Referee Steven McLean immediately pointed to the spot, with Tavernier sending Mannus the wrong way as he tucked home the opener.
January recruit Greg Docherty was showing yet more signs of his importance to his new side and played a part in number two after 25 minutes.
The former Hamilton midfielder bounced passes off Daniel Candeias on the edge of the hosts’ box before slotting in Windass, who had made a clever diagonal run in behind.
The Englishman did not need a touch as he hooked his first-time finish past Mannus as he extended his hot streak to 10 goals in seven games.
Saints were denied a lifeline after 34 minutes as George Williams saw his point-blank-range volley pushed over by Wes Foderingham.
The Rangers keeper did not look so assured moments later though as he flapped at Liam Craig’s free-kick delivery. However, Williams was again unable to take advantage as he ballooned the Englishman’s spill over the bar.
And bad went to worse for Wright’s men four minutes before the interval when Goss whipped home a stunning free-kick for number three.
Morelos got in on the scoring act 11 minutes after the restart as he sneaked across the front post to deftly nod home from Tavernier’s cross — re-establishing his lead over Windass in the scoring charts as he took his tally to 17 for the season.
Saints trimmed the deficit back to three on 62 minutes as Kerr was left unmarked to head home from Craig’s deep corner delivery.
But it made no difference to Gers, who were able to hand Bruno Alves his return to action near the end after two months out injured.