Scottish Premiership
St Johnstone1Rangers2

St Johnstone 1-2 Rangers

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Highlights: St Johnstone 1-2 Rangers

Pedro Caixinha's first visit to McDiarmid Park produced a victory for a much-shuffled Rangers team.

Goals in either half from Kenny Miller and Jon Toral eased the Ibrox club to a win as the manager gave youth a chance.

In a game which was meaningless in terms of league places, the gap between the clubs widened to nine points.

Saints threatened to equalise after Graham Cummins pulled one back but the visitors clung on to take an end-of-season victory.

The visitors' line-up raised a few eyebrows pre-match as Caixinha made five changes.

Kenny Miller makes it 1-0
Kenny Miller drilled home the opener from a Martyn Waghorn delivery

He gave a debut to Jak Alnwick in goal and a first start to Jamie Barjonas in the middle of the park, while youngsters Aiden Wilson and David Bates retained their places in central defence.

But his reshuffle worked. Eventually.

The passing was sharp and crisp from both sides on a greasy surface heavily watered by the Perthshire rain, but we had to wait fully 21 minutes for any genuine threat of a goal.

That was from Liam Craig, a searing shot which had Alnwick panicking as it flew just over his crossbar.

It did set an example. Craig Thomson fizzed a low shot across the goal and at the other end Rangers finally threatened to bother Alan Mannus, but Miller blazed over to the frustration of 2,453 visiting fans in a crowd of 6,799.

But before half time - in the 40th minute to be precise - the veteran striker found his shooting boots. And it was a gem of a goal.

Martyn Waghorn won himself space with a cute dummy and powered down the right, awaiting a presence in the box. Miller arrived with perfect timing and met the cross first time to deliver a low shot beyond Mannus for his 14th goal of the season.

But the quality of the goal camouflaged the inadequacies of the first half and the fact that in that 45 minutes St Johnstone were the better team.

Jon Toral makes it 2-0
Jon Toral produced a calm finish to double Rangers' lead in Perth

That, however, changed after the break. Rangers went two ahead in the 53rd minute and again it was a classy goal.

The finish was a low first time shot from Toral but it was all about James Tavernier. The right wing back produced an incredible dancing, jinking run along the by-line - almost on it like a tightrope walker - and laid it on a plate for Toral.

Rangers looked to have a grip on the game and the three points and that was reflected with a growing confidence from their young centre-halves, who produced a pretty solid performance.

But they did slip up once before the end to allow substitute Cummins to blast home a shot from close in.

And only a wonder save from Alnwick at point-blank range from MacLean denied Saints an equaliser.

At the other end Mannus produced something similarly wonderful to deny Barjonas his first goal for Rangers, who were worth their win.

Graham Cummins makes it 2-1
Graham Cummins gave St Johnstone hope with a fine finish

Post-match reaction

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "There was only one team in it the first 30-35 minutes. Overall we were probably the better side but that didn't equate to more goals than the opposition. From our point of view the second goal is far far too easy.

"The performance was good but the result wasn't what I think the performance merited."

On his summer plans: "We need to get Danny (Swanson) replaced and get some fresh legs, a bit of pace up front.

"We're looking at where we'll really try to strengthen the squad and improve it. We need to do things quickly.

"I'm expecting to be here next season. I have two years left on my contract. I have a great job here and it would have to be the right move for me, because I have such a good club here and I'm happy here. I am ambitious and if something had to come along that ticks all the boxes, it may interest me."

Tommy Wright and Pedro Caixinha
Saints boss Tommy Wright felt his side deserved more, while his Rangers counterpart Pedro Caixinha was happy with this side's showing

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha told Rangers TV: "I was really enjoying watching the game. After 10 or 15 minutes, we understood what was going on. Jon [Toral] and Josh [Windass] coming inside together with Kenny [Miller] created a very good situation for us.

"We were able to keep the ball and we had options to play inside and on the wide area, and it was good. We were understanding the game and enjoying it.

"Now it is the end of the season and it is time to start taking the decisions. We are already going in that direction and in a few weeks' time we start again."

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 19Foster
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 3Scobbie
  • 24Easton
  • 4Alston
  • 7Millar
  • 26CraigBooked at 15mins
  • 27ThomsonSubstituted forHurstat 68'minutes
  • 25KaneSubstituted forCumminsat 45'minutes
  • 9MacLean

Substitutes

  • 6Anderson
  • 12Clark
  • 18Paton
  • 28Gilchrist
  • 29Cummins
  • 31Hurst
  • 49Jardine

Rangers

  • 25Alnwick
  • 2Tavernier
  • 27Bates
  • 54Wilson
  • 61Beerman
  • 23Holt
  • 8ToralBooked at 55minsSubstituted forMcKayat 75'minutes
  • 11Windass
  • 33WaghornBooked at 81minsSubstituted forBradleyat 85'minutes
  • 9Miller
  • 55BarjonasBooked at 89minsSubstituted forHallidayat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Foderingham
  • 10McKay
  • 14Dodoo
  • 16Halliday
  • 39Lyon
  • 45Atakayi
  • 53Bradley
Referee:
Andrew Dallas
Attendance:
6,799

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home13
Away16
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home10
Away16

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St. Johnstone 1, Rangers 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 1, Rangers 2.

  3. Post update

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

  4. Post update

    Foul by Jason Holt (Rangers).

  5. Post update

    Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Josh Windass (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Andy Halliday replaces Jamie Barjonas.

  8. Booking

    Jamie Barjonas (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Jamie Barjonas (Rangers).

  10. Post update

    Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

    Foul by Jamie Barjonas (Rangers).

  13. Post update

    Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Barrie McKay.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Kyle Bradley replaces Martyn Waghorn.

  16. Post update

    Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Jason Holt (Rangers).

  18. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Tam Scobbie.

  20. Booking

    Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.