Clinical Rangers Pick Up Three Points At St Johnstone

CLINICAL Rangers ensured their supporters will have a happy Christmas after running out 3-0 winners over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park tonight.

First half goals from Kemar Roofe and Glen Kamara were followed by a Ianis Hagi counter early in the second half to claim another three points for Steven Gerrard’s side on what was a freezing night in Perth.

Boss Gerrard named two changes to his team going into this one. From the side which came back from a goal down on Saturday to defeat Motherwell, out go Scott Arfield and Jermain Defoe, with their places taken in the XI by Joe Aribo and Hagi.

That meant it was a back five of Allan McGregor in goal with James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Fil Helander and Borna Barisic in front of him.

In midfield, Aribo was next to Glen Kamara and Steven Davis while up front, Hagi joied Roofe and Ryan Kent.

Around the 10 minute mark, Rangers began to establish themselves as the dominant side, and after a James Tavernier free-kick from deep was cleared wide, Ryan Kent picked up and set-up Glen Kamara for a very decent curling effort which only just cleared the bar.

Then, on 24 minutes, the Light Blues hit the front. That man Kamara was released from midfield and immediately started moving forward.

He picked out Ianis Hagi who was arriving on the edge of the area, with the Romanian international bringing a save out of Zander Clark.

The Saints ‘keeper couldn’t hold the ball, however, and following in to net his seventh goal in his last six Scottish Premiership matches was Kemar Roofe.

Gers continued to keep the pressure up, and that yielded a second goal on 31 minutes – and this really was a thing of beauty.

Joe Aribo collected a Steven Davis header in midfield, turned, strode forward and then sent an absolutely perfect ball through the Saints defence and into the path of the onrushing Glen Kamara.

Such was the quality on the ball from Aribo, Kamara needed just the deftest of flicks to take it beyond Clark for his second of the season.

Ryan Kent tested Clark as the visitors went looking for a third but 2-0 is how it remained at the break.

That third did come, however, two minutes after the restart. Roofe did well to sort his feet to get onto another Aribo through-ball, and while his effort was blocked by Clark, the rebound came out to Ianis Hagi, 12-yards out to the right of goal.

His ferocious strike was just too hot to handle for Clark as it rolled over the goalline despite the best efforts of the goalkeeper to keep it out.

Allan McGregor was called into action on 56 minutes for the first time on the night, and he made a super, one-handed stop from Stevie May as the striker found himself in-behind the Gers defence.

Saints were reduced to 10 men on 83 minutes as Michael O’Halloran, who only came on as a sub six minutes earlier, was shown two yellow cards for fouls on Alfredo Morelos and then Borna Barisic in quick succession.

Gers then could have had four – a Clark clearance went straight to Morelos, but he fired just wide of the target.

3-0 is how it finished then, with Gers now looking forward to the Boxing Day visit of Hibernian to Ibrox.

RANGERS: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic, Aribo, Kamara, Davis (Zungu, 77), Hagi (Itten 82), Roofe (Morelos, 64), Kent (Arfield, 82)

SUBS NOT USED: McLaughlin, Bassey, Defoe, Patterson, Balogun.

ST JOHNSTONE: Clark, Rooney, Gordon, McCart, Booth, Davidson (McCann, 45), Bryson (Melamed, 82), Wotherspoon, Conway (May, 45), Kane (Craig, 82), McNamara (O’Halloran, 77).

SUBS NOT USED: Parish, Hendry, Ferguson.