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Rangers beat St Johnstone 3-0 to maintain 16-point lead at top

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Rangers maintained their 16-point advantage at the top of the Scottish Premiership with an 11th straight league win at St Johnstone.

Kemar Roofe poked in Rangers’ opener after Zander Clark had palmed away Ianis Hagi’s strike and Glen Kamara’s tidy finish doubled the visitors’ advantage before the break.

Hagi blasted a shot through Clark for Rangers’ third in the second half, before St Johnstone substitute Michael O’Halloran was sent off for two bookings late on.

The former Rangers winger was cautioned twice inside three minutes and was on the park for just six minutes in total.

And a third straight league loss leaves Callum Davidson’s St Johnstone 10th in the division, above Hamilton Academical on goal difference.

St Johnstone’s Murray Davidson and Kamara were unsuccessful with early efforts before Rangers went in front.

Kamara squared for Hagi to shoot and Roofe was on hand to convert after the Clark block. A quick check from the striker that he was not offside confirmed he had scored for the 11th time this season.

Finland international Kamara was the beneficiary moments later as he glided on to Joe Aribo’s perfectly timed pass in behind the Perth defence and nudged the ball home with the outside of his right foot.

There was no let up from Steven Gerrard’s side in the second half with Hagi thundering the ball under Clark after Roofe’s shot had been blocked.

Substitute Stevie May almost pulled one back for the hosts when he got goal-side of the Rangers defence but Allan McGregor would not be beaten.

Amid a series of substitutions, O’Halloran came on for Danny McNamara and was quickly booked for a foul on Roofe’s replacement Alfredo Morelos. And the winger saw red after a rash challenge on Borna Barisic met with the same punishment.

Morelos slipped a shot wide soon after but Rangers’ work was done.

Man of the match – Glen Kamara

Glen Kamara celebrates
If there can be one criticism of Kamara this season, it would be lack of goals but he doubled his season’s tally in Perth and put in another commanding midfield performance

What did we learn?

St Johnstone did not do much wrong before falling behind but could not find an answer after Rangers started scoring. May and Ali McCann came on at half-time but were barely on the park two minutes when Hagi struck Rangers’ third.

One of Rangers’ strengths this season has been the amount of different scorers and Kamara became the club’s 14th scorer in the league.

Hagi has had a largely frustrating first half of the season but certainly staked his claim for more game time with a hand in two of the goals.

Gerrard’s men were clinical in both boxes with their defensive prowess registering a 21st clean sheet in all competitions this term.

What did they say?

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: “We limited them to very few chances. It’s a throw-in and we deal with it all wrong. Six minutes later, we’re 2-0 down and it’s an uphill struggle. We conceded right after half-time. And that’s it, game’s over.

“I’m really disappointed with Michael O’Halloran. It was reckless going into that challenge already being booked. Just stay on your feet.”

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: “We really stood up to the physicality of St Johnstone. They are a well organised team, they are right up for it and compete well, so we had to first and foremost match that and at the right times we were very clinical and showed our quality.

“We’re very pleased with the run we’re on in the league. With 19 games gone, to return 53 points is a really good effort from the players.”

What’s next?

Rangers are involved in the first Premiership match on Boxing Day, at home to Hibernian (12:30 GMT), before St Johnstone take on hosts Aberdeen later on Saturday (15:00).

Player of the match

RoofeKemar Roofe

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number15Player nameMcNamara

  2. Squad number6Player nameGordon

  3. Squad number19Player nameRooney

  4. Squad number4Player nameMcCart

  5. Squad number9Player nameKane

  6. Squad number13Player nameBryson

  7. Squad number10Player nameWotherspoon

  8. Squad number24Player nameBooth

  9. Squad number8Player nameDavidson

  10. Squad number7Player nameConway

  11. Squad number1Player nameClark

  12. Squad number14Player nameMay

  13. Squad number18Player nameMcCann

  14. Squad number26Player nameCraig

  15. Squad number17Player nameMelamed

  16. Squad number11Player nameO’Halloran

Rangers

  1. Squad number25Player nameRoofe

  2. Squad number18Player nameKamara

  3. Squad number17Player nameAribo

  4. Squad number7Player nameHagi

  5. Squad number2Player nameTavernier

  6. Squad number14Player nameKent

  7. Squad number10Player nameDavis

  8. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

  9. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  10. Squad number1Player nameMcGregor

  11. Squad number5Player nameHelander

  12. Squad number11Player nameItten

  13. Squad number15Player nameZungu

  14. Squad number20Player nameMorelos

  15. Squad number37Player nameArfield

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 19Rooney
  • 6Gordon
  • 4McCart
  • 15McNamaraSubstituted forO’Halloranat 77′minutesBooked at 83mins
  • 13BrysonSubstituted forCraigat 82′minutes
  • 8DavidsonSubstituted forMcCannat 45′minutes
  • 24Booth
  • 7ConwaySubstituted forMayat 45′minutes
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 60mins
  • 9KaneSubstituted forMelamedat 82′minutes

Substitutes

  • 11O’Halloran
  • 12Parish
  • 14May
  • 17Melamed
  • 18McCann
  • 22Hendry
  • 26Craig
  • 46Ferguson

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 5Helander
  • 31Barisic
  • 17Aribo
  • 10DavisSubstituted forZunguat 77′minutes
  • 18Kamara
  • 7HagiSubstituted forIttenat 82′minutes
  • 25RoofeSubstituted forMorelosat 64′minutes
  • 14KentSubstituted forArfieldat 82′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 9Defoe
  • 11Itten
  • 15Zungu
  • 16Patterson
  • 20Morelos
  • 26Balogun
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield

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