St Johnstone vs Rangers preview: Results could send Steven Gerrard's men top
Last Updated: 22/12/18 7:50am
Rangers need results to go their way if they are to get back to the top of the Scottish Premiership at St Johnstone on Sunday.
A 0-0 draw at Hibernian on Wednesday denied them the chance to hold off Celtic and go top of the table, but three points might be enough to send them to the summit should Celtic fail to win over the weekend.
But Steven Gerrard's men travel to a St Johnstone side only seven points behind them, and with a game in hand, leaving Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister to talk up their opponents ahead of the game.
"Barring their little blip against Motherwell, St Johnstone have been on good form," he told reporters.
"They're keeping clean sheets. It never ceases to amaze me what Tommy Wright does through at St Johnstone, very rarely he gets money to go and build his squad or add to his squad.
"It's the same players and they've done extremely well so it's a tough opponent. We go up to Perth and it's going to be difficult, I think it always is when we go through there. So it's game on, and then obviously it's Hibs coming back to Ibrox."
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright ramped up the pressure on Rangers in their desire to win the Scottish Premiership this season by suggesting they will fail to do so until they can win an Old Firm derby.
"I've got to say Celtic, on the back of what they've achieved in recent years, will still be favourites," he said.
"The acid test in terms of the title race will be the Old Firm game - psychologically, Rangers have to get over that hurdle.
"I know there has been an occasion in the past when one half of the Old Firm have won the title while being in a points deficit in games against the other but psychologically, for Rangers to be a real force, they need to win in the league over Celtic.
- St Johnstone have only won one of their last 15 matches against Rangers in the Scottish Premiership (D3 L11), a 3-1 win at Ibrox in December 2017.
- Rangers have not lost away at St Johnstone in the top-flight since March 2010, winning seven of their last eight away games at McDiarmid Park.
- St Johnstone have not lost back-to-back home games in the Scottish Premiership since January (v Dundee and Partick Thistle).
- Rangers are unbeaten in their last five away league games, winning three (D2), after having failed to win any of their previous eight on their travels in the Scottish Premiership.
- St Johnstone's Blair Alston has netted two goals in his last three games against Rangers, though both goals did come in matches played at Ibrox.