Rangers moved to the top of the Scottish Premiership with a clinical win over St Johnstone but were accused of being sloppy by Steven Gerrard. The manager was pleased with “three good goals”, describing Borna Barisic’s free-kick opener as “a piece of magic”.
Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo scored either side of the break, but Gerrard said: “We never played like a top team at 3-0 – we let the game fizzle out.” Rangers nevertheless now lead Hibernian on goal difference with a 100% record. Both go five points clear of reigning champions Celtic and could be 11 ahead by the time Neil Lennon’s side are back in action after having two games postponed following Boli Bolingoli’s Covid-19 lockdown breach. St Johnstone started like a side full of confidence and frustrated Rangers with five spread across the back. Not only was the ploy successful, but it gave them a base to probe for openings themselves. The visitors created the first clear-cut chance as Callum Hendry turned centre-half and Nigeria international Leon Balogun inside and out, but the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin denied the striker’s low drive. Rangers were struggling to find space but were presented with a chance when David Wotherspoon tripped Alfredo Morelos 18 yards out and Barisic curled the free-kick away from goalkeeper Elliot Parish. Just when St Johnstone were thinking of regrouping at half-time, Rangers extended their lead, Barisic the provider with a low cross that gave Kent the chance to score on the turn. Two chances created, two goals and Rangers came out with much more freedom after the break. Morelos had a shot parried wide and Aribo’s head supplied the touch at the resulting corner. On-loan Millwall striker Isaac Olaofe forced a fine save from McLaughlin, but by then the game was already won.