St Johnstone 1-2 Rangers: James Tavernier’s stunning long range attack takes the crucial win for Steven Gerrard’s men as they come from behind
- The hosts took a shocking lead through Michael O’Halloran in the second half
- But Rangers equalized just seven minutes later thanks to a penalty from Kemar Roofe
- James Tavernier showed up with the winner ten minutes before time
A stunning attack from captain James Tavernier was enough to take Rangers to the top of the Premiership as the champions beat a hard-fought 2-1 win over tough St Johnstone.
The Englishman emerged with the decisive moment of the game in the 79th minute after Kemar Roofe’s penalty early in the second half overturned Michael O’Halloran’s opener for Saints.
Following the disappointment of losing key men Ali McCann and Jason Kerr on the day of the transfer deadline, home support got a pre-match boost when it was announced that double-winning manager Callum Davidson had signed a new contract that will keep him on the board until 2025. club binds. .
Steven Gerrard’s Rangers took a narrow win at St Johnstone thanks to James Tavernier
Midfielder Ali Crawford made his Saints debut, while Davidson’s other recent signings Eetu Vertainen, Efe Ambrose and Lars Dendoncker started on the bench.
Rangers made three changes to the side that kicked off the 1-0 win over Celtic, with Jon McLaughlin, Tavernier and Calvin Bassey replacing Robby McCrorie, Borna Barisic and Connor Goldson, who missed the game as they had to self-isolate.
The first half was largely uneventful, with both goalkeepers’ lone save in the 37th minute when Saints’ Zander Clark had to duck to the left to clear a 20m attack from Roofe.
However, the game came alive early in the second half. Saints took the lead 50 minutes into the game when O’Halloran picked up a long pass from Hayden Muller, riding on Filip Helander before stepping away from the Swedish central defender and firing an emphatic shot high over McLaughlin from just inside the penalty area.
Rangers reacted almost quickly when Tavernier got to the byline and drilled a low ball in front of goal, but Alfredo Morelos, who slid in, just couldn’t get his toe on it.
The equalizing goal came in the 57th minute when Roofe scored a penalty at home after Muller was deemed to have fouled Ryan Kent. A flare-up in the immediate aftermath of the goal saw Saints duo Shaun Rooney and Liam Craig booked along with Rangers duo Roofe and Morelos.
The visitors’ tails were up and Tavernier curled a shot just over the bar from 25 yards before Morelos saw a deflected effort from Clark.
Saints, however, remained a threat, and both Crawford and Reece Devine came agonizingly close to restoring their lead.
Things seemed to be conspiring against the champions as Helander was swept away in the 77th minute, but just two minutes later Tavernier gave the big traveling support the moment they’d been waiting for when he delivered a sensational charge from 25 yards over Clark and into the net. .