RANGERS netted five at home in the top flight for the first time since May 2, 2012 with a demolition of St Johnstone at Ibrox this afternoon.
The Light Blues were sensational in an attacking sense, constantly keeping a tough opponent in Tommy Wright’s men on the back-foot to earn a result which moves them up to second in the Scottish Premiership following Celtic’s 2-1 reverse at Kilmarnock earlier today.
After Thursday’s wonderful result in Villarreal which was earned by a sublime team effort from Gers, it was going to be interesting to see how they began this afternoon’s match.
And, after a cagey opening few minutes, it was the visitors who created the first chance of the match. On the right, Drey Wright hared away from Scott Arfield and delivered a terrific ball to the front post, where, under pressure, David Wotherspoon fired over the bar.
It was a warning shot for sure for the home side, but after Allan McGregor restarted play, the Light Blues built a neat attack, which ended when James Tavernier was scythed down on the edge of the box they were attacking by Scott Tanser.
The skipper dusted himself down, and purposefully dispatched the ball into the back of the net, beating ‘keeper Zander Clark at his near post.
From there, some of the football the home side played was right out of the top-drawer, and even when they lost the ball, their willingness to go and press Saints to win it back again was quite superb.
A second goal seemed inevitable, with Ryan Kent and Nikola Katic both coming close before, on the half-hour mark, James Tavernier came close to doubling his tally for the afternoon with another excellent free-kick.
Some tremendous football between Alfredo Morelos and Kent was ended when the latter was hacked down 25-yards out by Richard Foster.
Tavernier’s effort cleared the ball and looked to have Clark beaten, but it cannoned off the bar before Saints managed to clear.
Four minutes later, and that second goal did deservedly arrive.
After picking the ball up out on the right wing. Alfredo Morelos powered his way past Joe Shaughnessy and Matty Kennedy before playing a neat one-two with the oncoming Tavernier, beating the retreating Shaughnessy once again before blasting the ball beyond Clark from a tight angle.
Boss Gerrard could be seen leaping off his seat and into the air with delight, thrilled at the quality of the goal and what he was seeing from his team.
Steven Gerrard was left wanting more from his side in their last league meeting with Dundee, even though they won 4-0, and his players kept up a real intensity about their play at the start of the second half, grabbing the their third on 52 minutes.
A beautiful flick on the wing from Morelos took him away again from Shaughnessy, and while his cross was turned onto the bar by Kent, following up for a rebound was Scott Arfield to grab his first league goal for Gers having got off the mark in all competitions in Villarreal.
After that, there was a bit of a let-off for Gers when a slack pass-back from Nikola Katic to McGregor was intercepted by Kennedy, but his effort slipped wide of the target.
Clark was called into action to firstly save from Morelos and then Kent after some lovely build-up play, before he had to push an Arfield free-kick over on 70 minutes.
The stopper couldn’t, however, prevent goal number four on 74 minutes.
The excellent Morelos was released again on the right by Arfield, before he found his midfield man as he entered the penalty area. Arfield could have gone himself, but instead unselfishly squared for substitute Kyle Lafferty to easily finish
The visitors had barely featured as an attacking force in the second half, but on 77 minutes, Blair Alston was bundled over in the box by Arfield, handing them a penalty. Alston’s effort was fierce and well beyond the reach of McGregor.
The four goal cushion was reinstated two minutes later however, as Daniel Candeias got a deserved goal for his fine contribution this afternoon.
Unperturbed by conceding the spot-kick, Arfield charged through midfield to the edge of the area, slipped the ball wide for Candeias who cut inside and stuck the ball away under the diving Clark.
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier (Ejaria, 56), Goldson, Katic, Flanagan; McCrorie, Coulibaly (Dorrans, 63), Arfield; Candeias, Kent (Lafferty, 72), Morelos.
SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, Worrall, Halliday, Middleton.
ST JOHNSTONE: Clark, Tanser, Alston, Shaughnessy, Wright (Swanson, 61), Wotherspoon, Kerr, Foster, Craig (Nydam, 57), Watt (Kane, 72), Kennedy.
SUBS: Mitchell, Anderson, McMillan, Callachan.
REFEREE: Steven McLean
ATTENDANCE: 48, 729