Rangers had their strongest attacking performance of the season against St Johnstone in a dominant 5-1 win at Ibrox. The players looked confident and willing to try different things on the ball, whilst working hard when not in possession. The movement for the goals and various other chances was excellent, and the team linked up well. Here is how I feel the players rated on the day.
ALLAN McGREGOR – 7
A relatively quiet day for McGregor for Steven Gerrard’s team, in terms of saves he had to make. St Johnstone had chances, but rarely hit the target. He was beaten by the penalty, which will have been an annoyance. A few times in the match, he seemed to hesitate to come out to claim a cross, which was surprising. However, he kept the tempo high with his distribution.
JAMES TAVERNIER – 8
Tavernier opened the scoring with a stunning free-kick, which helped the side play with more confidence. He was strong on the ball getting forward and unlucky not to set up a couple of chances with his crosses. The free-kick, which hit the bar was almost as well hit as the goal he scored. He was substituted after 60 minutes to be given a bit of a rest, which was well deserved.
CONNOR GOLDSON – 7
Goldson defended well overall, but his passing was very erratic. Great long balls would be overshadowed by misplaced short passes. He won headers at set-pieces and was rarely beaten defensively, but he’ll feel he played poorly in this match. The mistake towards the end, where he gifted the ball to Swanson summed up how he played in possession.
NIKOLA KATIC – 7
Katic almost gifted St Johnstone a goal with a poor pass back to McGregor. In the first half, he showed his ability to recover well and not be beaten easily for pace more than once. In the air, he was given a bit of trouble, not winning headers cleanly or giving away a foul now and then. Like Goldson, overall he was fine, but he won’t feel as though he played his best.
JON FLANAGAN – 7
Flanagan was relatively sold in defence. He was easily beaten early in the match by Wright, which led to a good chance for St Johnstone. After that, they never really gave him too many problems. He was a little loose in possession, as well, though, as he has to cut inside on to his right foot, which slows things down. A great block in the second half prevented what looked like a certain St Johnstone goal.
LASSANA COULIBALY – 7
Coulibaly was relatively quiet in this match. He won some tackles as he always does, and provided an option for players to play an easy pass. He was often found on the left of the field as he got forward and looked to be involved. His passing wasn’t quite as sharp as required, and he was on the fringes of the best attacking play, throughout.
ROSS McCRORIE – 9
McCrorie played well in midfield, before moving to right-back and looking comfortable there, as well. In the first half, he offered the team a lot of security in midfield, winning the ball and playing easy passes more than once. At right-back, he got forward really well and showed great pace and control under pressure. After a slow start to the season in the Europa League, it was very heartening to see him play so well.
SCOTT ARFIELD – 9
Arfield scored and was involved in all of the goals in the second half. He linked up excellently with Morelos, which led to numerous chances. When Rangers lost possession, he worked hard to win the ball back. He showed real composure for his goal, even if the goalkeeper was slightly weak in not saving the shot. The passes for Lafferty and Candeias to score were perfect, in terms of weight and decision-making.
DANIEL CANDEIAS – 9
Candeias scored a nice goal and showed real confidence in his play throughout the match. Some lovely first-time passes and flicks opened up the St Johnstone defence, especially in the second half. As always, his energy and desire to win the ball was key. He made a great run, which opened the space for the 4th goal. The composure shown to score the fifth was excellent, as he had the confidence to take an extra touch in the box. He was always available as an outlet on the counter, and worked hard defensively.
ALFREDO MORELOS – 9
Morelos was outstanding in this match and was my choice for Man of the Match. In the first half, his pressing created some chances for others. His goal was a good strike on his weaker foot and showed his confidence at the moment. In the second half, he was involved in the moves for all three goals. The turn and flick which led to the Arfield goal was magnificent. He could have had another goal himself, but was unlucky with one chance, where he drove past the St Johnstone defence quite easily. This was a match where he was clearly enjoying himself.
RYAN KENT – 8
Kent was effective going forward and a threat, throughout. His pace and ability to turn on the ball meant he created chances and won free-kicks often. One turn in the first half left defenders for dead and meant he had to be fouled when on the run. He saw a shot across goal well saved by Clark and was unlucky with a great effort off the bar, before Arfield scored.
OVIE EJARIA – 4
Ejaria slotted into midfield for just over half-an-hour. He was somewhat on the fringes of the good play which followed, but also tried to keep the team moving forward.
GRAHAM DORRANS – 4
Dorrans was given around half-an-hour in this match. He looked comfortable on the ball and read the game well to win possession.
KYLE LAFFERTY – 4
Lafferty scored a nice goal with a very composed finish to make it 4-0. Wasn’t too involved after that as the game started to wind down.
How did you feel the players rated? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your thoughts.