St Johnstone v Rangers preview: Pedro Caixinha seeks defensive improvement
Last Updated: 13/10/17 8:23am
Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha wants his defenders to get "back to basics" as they return to action at St Johnstone on Friday following the international break.
Caixinha's side have had no problem putting the ball in the net this season, with the Gers second in the scoring charts in the Scottish Premiership on 17 goals.
However, the Ibrox side's cause has been hindered by their defence's record of just one clean sheet in their eight matches to date.
The Gers take on St Johnstone hoping to move to within three points of league leaders Celtic, who host Dundee on Saturday, and Caixinha says he has spent the international break working on trying to plug the gaps in his team's defence.
"We have been more focused on the details this week because we made the analysis that we cannot concede so many goals in the way we are conceding them," he said. "We need to get back to the basics, especially in defending.
"I think we are much more solid as a team if we defend better and if (we) concede less goals, because the difference in the goals we have scored is almost nothing to the teams that are leading the league.
"We need to keep going as we were in attack but we want to improve our defending, so that's the point we've been working on."
Caixinha, 46, has come under close scrutiny this season following his side's indifferent start to the campaign which has seen the Ibrox side drop 10 points in their opening eight matches.
But Tommy Wright, whose St Johnstone side could leapfrog Rangers into third with a win on Friday, has little sympathy for the Portuguese boss and said that kind of pressure is part and parcel of managing the Glasgow giants.
"The size and stature of Rangers means they are always under scrutiny, in every game," he said. "Nothing has changed down the years in that respect. Anyone employed by Rangers just has to deal with it.
"They are such a big club so they are always under constant media attention. Every little thing is highlighted but there's nothing new about that. It goes with the job."
Saints will be without suspended former Rangers defender Richard Foster while striker Micahel O'Halloran is on loan from Rangers and is unable to appear against his parent club.
Kenny Miller could return to the Rangers squad after clearing the air with manager Pedro Caixinha after the striker missed the defeat of Hamilton amid reports of a heated team meeting between the pair.
Centre-backs Bruno Alves and Danny Wilson are fit after calf injuries while Niko Kranjcar is also back, but Lee Wallace (groin) and Jordan Rossiter (knee) remain out and Ryan Jack is suspended.
St Johnstone have beaten Rangers just three times in the Scottish Premiership from 28 attempts (D5 L20). Their last victory came at McDiarmid Park in March 2010 (4-1).
Each of St. Johnstone's three league victories against Rangers have come away from home at Ibrox.
St Johnstone have won five of their last seven at McDiarmid Park (D1 L1).
After losing three in succession, Rangers are now unbeaten in their last nine away games (W6 D3), despite keeping only two clean sheets.
Michael O'Halloran has scored five goals in six league appearances so far this season for St Johnstone.