Alfredo Morelos inspires Rangers to victory over St Johnstone



Posted Thursday, December 16, 2021 by PA

Alfredo Morelos inspires Rangers to victory over St Johnstone

Alfredo Morelos scored one and set up another as Rangers comfortably beat St Johnstone 2-0.

Morelos nodded home two minutes before the end of a one-sided first half and crossed for Ryan Kent to double the lead soon after the interval.

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s fifth cinch Premiership win from five kept his side four points clear.

The Rangers fans left Ibrox in jubilant mood with Ross County holding 10-man Celtic with the ground empty by the time Anthony Ralston hit a last-gasp winner for the Hoops.

Saints were the last Scottish team to beat Rangers at Ibrox, on their way to winning last season’s Scottish Cup, but the game was gone before they started creating any chances and they remain bottom of the table.

Rangers were on top from the start. Kent twice forced good stops from Zander Clark after penalty-box trickery and Joe Aribo hit the post from 25 yards.

Shaun Rooney made a crucial clearance as Aribo tried to find Kent in the six-yard box and Morelos passed up a good chance after Glen Kamara played him through. With Saints perhaps expecting an offside flag, Liam Gordon got back to put in a challenge as the Colombian dithered.

The recalled Ianis Hagi shot into the side-netting and Saints debutant Jacob Butterfield got away with a clumsy penalty-box challenge on Kamara. The midfielder hit the deck after Butterfield tackled from the wrong side but referee Euan Anderson was unconvinced.

Visiting boss Callum Davidson was getting increasingly frustrated with his team’s inability to keep the ball and slack hold-up play from Eetu Vertainen led to the Rangers attack which preceded the goal. Connor Goldson met Borna Barisic’s corner and headed on for the unmarked Morelos to nod home from close range.

Stevie May replaced Vertainen at the interval but any hope they had of getting back in the game was undone within four minutes of the restart. Rangers won the ball near the halfway line and Aribo’s pass sent Morelos away down the right. The striker picked out Kent in space and the former Liverpool winger swept home.

A lull in the action was interrupted by the home fans raising the volume considerably after news of Ross County’s equaliser filtered through.

The visitors improved and Jamie McCart was off target with a free header before they had a penalty claim denied after Liam Craig intercepted Barisic’s pass to Kamara and burst into the box.

The midfielder decided to go down looking for a spot-kick with Kamara in close pursuit rather than go for goal and then smothered the ball with his hands. The referee gave Rangers a free-kick and booked Craig for his subsequent dissent.

Rangers suffered a blow when Barisic pulled up with a muscle injury, with Nathan Patterson replacing the left-back.

Scott Arfield and Hagi had efforts saved and Morelos missed Rangers’ best chance for a third with a weak attempt at a lob.

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