Sunday 23rd September
Saints suffered a 5-1 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox this afternoon.
The home side took the lead after 9 minutes courtesy of a James Tavernier free kick. Rangers then doubled their advantage on 34 minutes when Tavernier setup Alfredo Morelos and the Colombian striker sent a powerful strike past Zander Clark.
Scott Arfield made it 3-0 on 52 minutes before substitute Kyle Lafferty added a fourth with 16 minutes remaining.
Blair Alston’s penalty on 77 minutes pulled a goal back for Saints however, Daniel Candeias added a fifth goal for the hosts 2 minutes later.
Today’s result leaves Saints in eighth place in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership with 8 points.
Saints made the trip to the west end of Glasgow today to take on Steven Gerrard’s Rangers. Tommy Wright made one change to the side that drew 1-1 with Aberdeen last weekend as David Wotherspoon came in for David McMillan who dropped to the bench. Steven Gerrard made four changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Villarreal in their UEFA Europa League match on Thursday evening. Out went Joe Worrall, Borna Barisic, Andy Halliday and Kyle Lafferty to be replaced by Nikola Katić, Ross McCrorie, Jonathan Flanagan and Alfredo Morelos.
Rangers got the match underway but it was Saints who threatened first on 7 minutes. Drey Wright did well to get away from Scott Arfield before advancing down the right and he crossed the ball into the box picking out David Wotherspoon however, he couldn’t get his effort on target.
Play though quickly switched to the other end as the home side were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box a minute later after James Tavernier had been fouled by Scott Tanser. Tavernier took the free kick himself and he coolly despatched it past Zander Clark to give Rangers an early lead.
Rangers threatened again on 15 minutes as Alfredo Morelos broke forward with the ball before slipping it to Ryan Kent in the box but Clark pulled off a good save as he turned the effort behind for a corner.
Despite having to defend for large spells of the half, Saints still created chances as on 27 minutes a good move forward saw Wright break into the box and he had a shot at goal. However, he was unable to keep his effort on target.
The first booking of the game came on the half hour mark as Richard Foster was shown a yellow card for a foul on Kent as Rangers were awarded a free kick just outside the box. The free kick was again taken by Tavernier although luckily for Saints his effort crashed off the bar before Saints eventually cleared their lines.
That let off for Saints didn’t last long as Rangers doubled their lead on 34 minutes. Tavernier slipped the ball through to Morelos and he cut inside away from Joe Shaughnessy before sending a powerful shot past Clark and into the back of the net.
On 42 minutes Saints were awarded a free kick in an inviting position after Matty Kennedy had been fouled by Nikola Katić. The free kick was taken by Blair Alston however, the midfielder’s effort didn’t trouble Allan McGregor in the home goal.
Saints got the second half underway and they created a chance on 50 minutes. Blair Alston did well to get away from his man before slipping the ball to Tony Watt however, the Rangers defence got back to block the shot from the Saints striker.
Play then switched to the other end as 2 minutes later Morelos advanced past Tanser out wide before picking out Kent with a cross and the on-loan Liverpool winger had a shot at goal however, his strike crashed off the bar. The ball then fell to Scott Arfield whose strike went under Clark and into the back of the net for Rangers third of the afternoon.
Tony Watt almost pulled a goal back for Saints on the hour mark as he took advantage of a short pass back by Katić however, his effort went inches wide of McGregor’s right-hand post.
On 64 minutes Clark was called into action saving well from a Morelos effort. Then 3 minutes later the Saints number one had to look lively again this time saving a Kent shot.
The pressure kept on coming and Clark was again called into action on 70 minutes this time saving an Arfield free kick.
However, it got even worse far Saints on 74 minutes as substitute Kyle Lafferty netted a fourth for the Govan side. Morelos collected the ball on the right-wing and cut inside before finding Arfield, he slipped the ball into the path of Lafferty who despatched it into the bottom corner of the net.
On 77 minutes Saints were awarded a penalty after Alston was bundled over in the box by Arfield. Alston stepped up to take the penalty himself and he sent McGregor the wrong way as he fired the ball high into the top left of the net.
Rangers though were not finished with Saints as they netted a fifth on 79 minutes. Arfield broke forward to the edge of the area, slipped the ball wide for Daniel Candeias who cut inside before slotting it past Clark.
Saints had chances late on to reduce the deficit. Firstly, on 86 minutes Kennedy broke into the box however, his left-footed effort was easily gathered by McGregor. Then a minute later Danny Swanson saw his strike go inches wide of McGregor’s right-hand post.
Overall, a disappointing afternoon for Saints.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier (Ejaria 56), Goldson, Kent (Lafferty 72), Flanagan, McCrorie, Katić, Morelos, Candeias, Coulibaly (Dorrans 63), Arfield
Unused Substitutes: Foderingham (GK), Worrall, Halliday, Middleton
Scorers: Tavernier (9), Morelos (34), Arfield (52), Lafferty (74), Candeias (79)
Saints: Clark, Tanser, Alston, Shaughnessy, Wright (Swanson 61), Wotherspoon, Kerr, Foster, Craig (Nydam 57), Watt (Kane 72), Kennedy
Unused Substitutes: Mitchell (GK), Anderson, McMillan, Callachan
Booked: Foster, Kerr
Scorer: Alston (77 pen)
Referee: Steven McLean
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Blair Alston scores from the penalty spot to get one back for Saints
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