Rangers vs St. Johnstone. Scottish Premiership.
Match report as Rangers put four past St Johnstone at Ibrox; Sky Sports is the only broadcaster showing live top-flight Scottish football, with up to 48 live games; free highlights available on our website and social media channels
Monday 15 August 2022 09:12, UK
Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes clinical striker Antonio Colak can help Rangers kill teams off this season after the Croatian scored for the third game in a row in the 4-0 win over St Johnstone.
Malik Tillman, Colak, Scott Arfield and Tom Lawrence were all on target for the home side, as they built on the momentum from the midweek European win against Union Saint-Gilloise.
As Alfredo Morelos continues his return to full fitness, Van Bronckhorst is pleased to see Colak already on the goal trail since joining from PAOK, and ahead of the first leg of the Champions League play-off against PSV at Ibrox on Tuesday night.
"What we have to do a lot better than last year is don't keep teams in the game," said Van Bronckhorst, who is confident that missing Ryan Kent and James Sands will be back for Tuesday.
"That is the most important thing we have to do, especially at home.
"But also away, when you have the chance to make the second goal, the third goal. You have to take it.
"That's why I'm really pleased with the desire we had today.
"So, yes, Antonio gives us the goals up front and if you compare it with last year, in the last months we didn't have strikers.
"So I'm really pleased with Antonio, with his performances. Morelos is back after five months, so he needs time to get stronger.
"But if we have him fully fit and ready to start games, you know we have a big squad to pick from.
"Especially up front, we have a lot of players who can play."
Tillman gave the patient home side the lead in the 32nd minute with a close-range header that rattled in off the crossbar after a beautifully floated ball over to the back post from skipper James Tavernier.
Early in the second half, Matondo, playing off the left, cracked the woodwork with a drive from the edge of the box and Barisic cleared the bar by inches with a free-kick from a similar distance.
Saints continued to make life difficult for the Light Blues until Croatian striker Colak, who had netted in previous games against Union Saint-Gilloise and Kilmarnock, drove in a second from 10 yards in the 62nd minute.
When Saints lost a second, it was their own fault. A hesitant Drey Wright was robbed by Matondo inside the penalty area and the ball fell to Colak who swiftly turned and drove the ball low past Matthews.
Colak then made way for Alfredo Morelos in a triple substitution that also saw Scott Wright and Tillman replaced by Arfield and Lawrence.
The points were secured and it was a case of Rangers trying to add to their tally, which Arfield did with 10 minutes remaining when he converted a Matondo cutback from 12 yards.
Three minutes later Arfield set up Lawrence for his first Rangers goal since his move to the Ibrox and after a comprehensive domestic display, boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst returns his focus back to Europe and PSV.
Ben Davies made his Rangers debut in the game, coming off late in the second half after the three points were secured. Rangers went top, but Celtic returned to the summit after being Kilmarnock 5-0 on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Rangers are away to Hibernian in their next Scottish Premiership match live on Sky Sports on 20 August. Before that they face PSV in the first-leg of their Champions League play-off on Tuesday.
St Johnstone host Aberdeen on Saturday at McDiarmid Park with a 3pm kick-off.