IT wasn’t pretty, but it was effective from Rangers. A lacklustre first half was followed by a dramatic second at McDiarmid Park and, in the end, the outcome was a fair one.

Michael O’Halloran silenced the away crowd by scoring against his former club, but his strike proved in vain for St Johnstone as Kemar Roofe and James Tavernier earned Rangers a deserved victory.

It would come at a cost for Steven Gerrard’s side but the points were the most important factor as momentum is built in the Premiership title race on the back of their Old Firm win.

This was a statement of intent win from the champions. Here are five talking points as attentions turn to the Europa League clash with Lyon.


Even at this early stage of the campaign, this was an important afternoon for Gerrard as his side came from behind to earn a valuable victory. Come the end of the season, it is just the kind of win that can be the difference between success and failure.

Rangers were lackadaisical for long spells of the first half in Perth and chances were hard to come by. Once they fell behind, they moved through the gears impressively.

There will be a frustration that it took the opening goal from O’Halloran to spark Rangers into life but the champions were well on top for the last half hour. The penalty from Roofe was clinical, the decisive strike from Tavernier fitting of any occasion.

There are still those who, for some reason, question the mentality of this Rangers side. Those doubts are dispelled by wins of such character.


The rise and rise of Nathan Patterson has naturally created a debate about how Gerrard accommodates his captain and his rising star into his plans this season.

As it stands, the quandary isn’t that pressing. Patterson may be the future for club and country, but Tavernier is the present for Rangers and his exquisite strike on Saturday was further evidence, not that it is needed, of what he brings to the side.

Last term, it took Tavernier until his sixth outing to score his first goal and he would finish with 19 to his credit at the end of an injury-impacted campaign. He is off the mark at the seventh time of asking this season.

The 29-year-old earned his place in Ibrox folklore by captaining Rangers to title 55 in May. He is some way from losing his spot in the team on a regular basis after stepping up when his side needed him once again.


It was unusual to see a Rangers team sheet that didn’t feature Connor Goldson on Saturday and his remarkable appearance run – one which stretches back 81 fixtures – has now come to an end. The fact that Goldson played every minute since the meeting with Stranraer last January is testament to his professionalism and his importance to Gerrard.

Speaking before the game, Gerrard confirmed the Englishman was self-isolating. Speaking after it, he said he was ‘hopeful’ that Goldson could be available to face Lyon.

The absence of Goldson on its own would be a huge blow for Rangers ahead of the visit of the Ligue 1 giants. Coupled with the injury to Filip Helander, it could leave Gerrard short of options.

Jack Simpson wasn’t included in the squad list submitted to UEFA and Gerrard could now need to field Leon Balogun and Calvin Bassey as an untested centre-back pairing on Thursday night. The Ibrox boss can only wait and hope now.


Regardless of who Gerrard is able to field at the back on Thursday night, Rangers know that they will need to be at their best if they are to get off to a winning start in Group A.

Malmo was a missed opportunity and Alashkert was a struggle. If Rangers don’t raise their levels, they will get nothing from Peter Bosz’s side at Ibrox.

The Europa League has given Gerrard some of his most memorable nights as manager over the last three seasons and another extended run this term should not be out of the equation as Sparta Prague and Brondby also lie in wait.

Rangers haven’t exactly hit the heights of previous campaigns so far this term but there would be no better time to do so than Thursday as Ibrox gears up for what could be a thrilling night under the floodlights.


Rangers may have been deserved winners in Perth but there were still positives to take for Callum Davidson’s side as they ultimately fell short on home soil.

Gerrard was praiseworthy about the shape and work ethic of the Saints ahead of the game and those qualities were evident in the first half. When O’Halloran finished emphatically, the hosts could dare to dream.

Youngsters Reece Devine and Hayden Muller performed well in the circumstances, as did Ali Crawford on his debut. Saints still have the likes of Craig Bryson, Murray Davidson and new arrival Cammy MacPherson to come back into the fold as well.

The losses of Jason Kerr and Ali McCann naturally frustrated supporters but the new deal for Davidson – the manager committing himself under 2025 – should ease the pain and St Johnstone can consolidate this season after their stunning success last term.