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Murty full of praise as the Gers show ruthless edge

St Johnstone 1-4 Rangers

By Andy Newport

Rangers produced another ruthless display as they smashed Tommy Wright's 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 but it was nowhere near enough to dent the surging belief of the 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 tonight. Saints, meanwhile, could surrender eighth place should Neil McCann's team cause an upset.

Rangers boss Graeme Murty enthused: "Some of our football was at a high level. (Goss) is a nice footballer, he understands the game and gives the team balance and composure that enables us to dictate tempo. He's settled in very well and he understands what it means to be a Rangers player, he's taken it on board.

"We're going to have to get Jamie (Murphy) checked. He and Daniel Candeias playing off Morelos makes a dangerous trio"

Rangers had come close to five in a row before Christmas - only for Saints to stun 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.

It took just 12 minutes for them to expose the hosts as Goss' ball over the 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 pointed to the spot, with Tavernier sending Mannus the wrong way.

Greg Docherty bounced passes off Candeias on the edge of the hosts' box before slotting in Windass. The Englishman did not need a touch as he hooked his first-time shot past Mannus.

Saints were denied a lifeline after 34 minutes as George Williams saw his volley pushed over by Wes Foderingham.

The keeper did not look so assured moments later as he flapped at Liam Craig's free-kick. However, Williams was again unable to take advantage.

And bad went to worse for Wright's men four minutes before the interval when Goss whipped home a free-kick.

Morelos got in on the scoring act 11 minutes after the restart as he deftly nodded home from Tavernier's cross.

Saints trimmed the deficit back to three on 62 minutes as Kerr was left unmarked. 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.

ST JOHNSTONE: Mannus, Anderson, Shaughnessy, Kerr, Comrie, Williams, Alston, Willock, Davidson (Wotherspoon 58), Craig, Kane (Johnstone 62).

Subs not used: Millar, MacLean, Clark, Gordon, Thomson.

RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates, Martin, Halliday, Docherty, Goss, Candeias (Cummings 62), Windass, Murphy (Alves 77), Morelos.

Subs not used: Miller, Herrera, Hodson, Holt, Alnwick.

Man of the match: Sean Goss

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Steven McLean

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