With Glasgow Rangers on the hunt to put forward a title challenge, there was late drama in Perth on Sunday.
Tommy Wright’s St Johnstone can take a lot of pride for their convincing, creditable contribution to a topsy turvy match – but the Gers prevailed 2-1.
This was not a vintage Rangers performance by any means.
Despite Rangers having 62% possession and 15 shots at goal, the Ibrox club almost blew another chance to gain this very important win.
For long periods of the game, it looked like St Johnstone were going to win with Matty Kennedy’s wonderful strike just before half time, to take all three points.
According to a mountain of Twitter accounts, the Rangers fans are aggrieved, agitated and angry that Steven Gerrard continues to play Joe Worrall in central defence.
Worrall is on a season-long-loan-deal from Nottingham Forrest, yet he plays him ahead of Croatian under-21 internationalist Nikola Katic, who is actually signed to the club. Not a clever move in my opinion.
Ex-captain Lee Wallace replaced the injured Borna Barisic just before half time. His future at Ibrox looked bleak but Wallace performed admirably, and could keep his place in the team.
Gerrard brought 18-year-old Glenn Middleton for the second half to replace the ineffective Eros Grezda. He performed well and set up the winner.
In the 56th minute Gerrard decided to gamble even further by bringing on striker Kyle Lafferty for midfielder Lassana Coulibaly.
But Alfredo Morelos had other ideas. His 65th minute equaliser through a brilliant header, was assisted by a clever, accurate Middleton cross. This seemed to generate an inspired Rangers comeback.
Morelos’ goal definitely changed this game around for Rangers who, from then on, played more adventurously with two forwards foraging for the winner.
The confident St Johnstone defence soon became vulnerable to the constant pressure from Rangers, and it started to take its toll on them.
Rangers were eventually rewarded for their much-improved second-half performance, as Morelos fired home a James Tavernier cross with the Perth defence cut wide open.
Rangers top scorer took his goal total to 19 for the season as the ‘Teddy Bears’ led for the first time in the 88th minute.
It should become disturbing to Gerrard that his team cannot score more than two goals in any recent game, especially when the opposition scores the first goal.
After falling behind to that well-taken Kennedy goal, Gerrard was forced to try playing with two forwards up front – and thankfully it worked.
A special mention for Saints goalkeeper Zander Clark who produced a number of terrific saves in the second half to almost add to Gerrard’s woes.
Starting XI: McGregor: Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Barisic: McCrorie, Halliday, Coulibaly: Candeias, Morelos, Grezda.
Subs: Wallace, Lafferty, Foderingham, Flanagan, Rossiter, Katic, Middleton
This win for Rangers earned them second place in the SPFL just one point behind Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic.
The Glasgow giants are two points ahead of Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen in third place, and three above Stevie Clarke’s Kilmarnock in fourth place.