Rangers welcome St Johnstone to Ibrox on Saturday afternoon, with Steven Gerrard’s team looking to close the five-point gap that rivals Celtic have opened up at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.
The Gers are unbeaten in five games, but a four-game winning streak was brought to an end at the weekend when they drew 0-0 at Ibrox with Kilmarnock in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. St Johnstone were hammered 5-0 in their own fifth round Cup clash away at Celtic, a sign that they find travelling to Glasgow to face the Old Firm a real challenge.
Rangers will be without goalkeeper Alan McGregor. The 37-year-old failed in his appeal this week against a violent conduct charge and is suspended for two games.
Rangers vs St Johnstone Prediction: Rangers 2-0 St Johnstone
Our prediction for this game is that Rangers will win it pretty convincingly. The Gers are starting to build some momentum in the league, having won their last three Premiership games, against Livingston, St Mirren and Aberdeen. The Saints, in contrast, have lost their last four league games, and remain in sixth place in the league table. Saints gaffer Tommy Wright will want a reaction to that recent record at Ibrox, but his players might struggle to give it to him. Their last win was at home to Livingston on January 23.
Our recommended tip: Rangers to nil
Our featured tip for this game comes courtesy of Coral. They are offering odds of 6/5 on Rangers to win to nil. This looks a good bet to us as St Johnstone tend to struggle to make an impression at Ibrox generally speaking. The chances of them getting beaten to nil are fairly good, and this bet also gives you a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to the precise final score. Rangers should win this game, and probably by more than one goal too. A strong performance at home should also see them shut the Perth Saints out.
These two sides have met on two previous occasions this season, with both of those games coming in the Scottish Premiership. The first encounter was at Ibrox on September 23, and it ended in a convincing 5-1 victory for Rangers. Five different players scored for the Light Blues that day, with Kyle Lafferty and Scott Arfield amongst them.
The second game was at McDiarmid Park on December 23. Rangers ended up as the winners once again, this time triumphing 2-1 in Perth. Alfredo Morelos scored both of the Light Blues’ goals that day.
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Players to watch: Ryan Kent & Zander Clark
Rangers midfielder Ryan Kent has emerged as key man in Steven Gerrard’s team this season. On loan from Liverpool for the whole season, Kent offers plenty of creativity in attack, and has weighed in with five goals and three assists in his 16 Scottish Premiership games in 2018/19. Both Gerrard and his assistant at Ibrox Gary McAllister have hailed the young Englishman’s maturity and progress throughout the season, and the Gers would surely love to hang onto the player for a longer period.
If St Johnstone are to have any hope of getting a positive result at Ibrox this weekend then goalkeeper Zander Clark is going to have to have a good game. Between Boxing Day and January 23, Clark kept four clean sheets in four games. The Saints have struggled to keep teams at bay since then, though. If Clark produces some heroics then the Perth Saints might just have a chance of a point or even more.