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St. Johnstone vs Rangers. Scottish Premiership.

McDiarmid ParkAttendance6,986.

St. Johnstone 0

    Rangers 3

    • M Diomande (37th minute)
    • J Tavernier (79th minute pen, 87th minute pen)

    St Johnstone 0-3 Rangers: Mohamed Diomande's strike and James Tavernier penalties move Gers top of table

    Match report and highlights as Rangers move top of the Scottish Premiership; Mohamed Diomande’s stunning strike and James Tavernier's penalties give Rangers a 3-0 win at St Johnstone to take full advantage of Celtic's slip-up; Rangers move two points ahead of Celtic at the top

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    Highlights from the Scottish Premiership match between St Johnstone and Rangers.

    Rangers moved top of the Scottish Premiership after Mohamed Diomande’s thumping strike and James Tavernier’s two penalties gave them a 3-0 win at St Johnstone.

    Philippe Clement's side took full advantage of Celtic's slip-up on Saturday to move two points above the reigning champions and go top for the first time since August 2022.

    January signing Diomande set Rangers on their way to a crucial victory at McDiarmid Park with a stunning 37th-minute hit from outside the box for his first goal for the club and the only shot on target of the first half.

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    Mohamed Diomande scores a stunner for Rangers in their clash with St Johnstone

    Rangers were livelier in the second half and eventually Tavernier doubled their lead from the penalty spot in the 78th minute after Dujon Sterling was fouled by Andrew Considine following a VAR review.

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    James Tavernier doubles Rangers' lead from the penalty spot after Dujon Sterling was fouled in the box

    VAR was needed again to award Rangers another penalty after Luke Robinson handballed Tom Lawrence's strike and Tavernier scored his second from the spot in the 87th minute.

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    James Tavernier scores his second penalty of the game as they head to top spot in the Scottish Premiership

    Rangers, who made it nine straight wins, are now in control of the Scottish Premiership title race with 12 fixtures remaining.

    Boyd: Job done for Rangers

    Sky Sports' Kris Boyd:

    "When you come to grounds like this, it's just about getting the three points. It's job done for Rangers.

    "You come here with a different type of pressure after your rivals drop points yesterday: win and you go top of the table. That's exactly what Rangers have done."

    St Johnstone, meanwhile, failed to have a shot on target in the defeat to leave Craig Levein's side 10th and eight points above bottom side Livingston.

    Also See:

    How Rangers moved top of the table

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    Chris Sutton delivered a damning verdict on Celtic's form, describing their performances under Brendan Rodgers as 'bang average'

    Rangers travelled to Perth in great expectation of going above their Glasgow rivals Celtic but they struggled to get going at St Johnstone until Diomande's powerful opener.

    The midfielder, on loan from Danish side Nordsjaelland, marked his first league start with a superb strike from the edge of the box to fire Rangers into the lead.

    Sutton: Big result for Rangers

    Sky Sports' Chris Sutton:

    "A big result. The key is their foundation at the back. St Johnstone didn't lay a glove on them. And that's been their great strength under Clement, their ability to keep clean sheets.

    "They're effective at what they do. It wasn't a pretty game - we spoke about the pitch - but there is a belief in this Rangers squad.

    "They're top and now it's about whether they can maintain it."

    The Ivorian's goal was the only shot on target of an underwhelming first half but it took just 17 seconds for the Gers to have a shot on target in the second half as substitute Dujon Sterling crossed for Fabio Silva but his hooked first-time effort was saved by Dimitar Mitov.

    Sterling then missed a great chance in the 53rd minute as he glanced a header just wide of the far post from Todd Cantwell's cross.

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    Dujon Sterling glances a header just wide from three yards out as Rangers search for a second!

    Rangers searched for a second goal and they were given the chance to double the lead when Considine fouled Sterling, and despite referee Matt MacDermid not pointing to the spot, he was then asked to view the pitchside monitor and he awarded the penalty, which Tavernier converted.

    Substitute Cyriel Dessers then headed against the bar with Lawrence's rebound striking the hand of Robinson and after consulting his pitchside monitor again, referee MacDermid again pointed to the spot and Tavernier made no mistake to wrap up an important win for Rangers.

    Clement: We need to stay ambitious and continue what we're doing

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    Rangers manager Philippe Clement says his side must always focus on the next game if they are going to win the league this season after beating St Johnstone

    Rangers boss Philippe Clement told Sky Sports:

    "We are getting better and better. To play a game like that, scoring three goals and not allowing a shot on target from the opponent is also really important. We need to continue what we are doing and not to go in satisfied but to stay ambitious.

    "It's nothing to do with the ranking. We have a long series of wins now but I always look to the next game - that's my mentality, my character and I know it's also the only way to win trophies.

    "I'm really happy about the three points because it was a difficult game to play in those circumstances and that we had to play a different kind of football. That's the important thing, that the team is now ready to play different kinds of football.

    "To win comfortably in a good way that we were never in doubt, so that's a big step forward with a few months to go."

    Levein: VAR decisions are 'sickening'

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    St Johnstone manager Craig Levein says he is becoming 'frustrated' and 'sickened' by constant VAR interventions against his side after two against Rangers

    St Johnstone manager Craig Levein told Sky Sports:

    "We did a lot of things well particularly trying to frustrate Rangers. There were a lot of pleasing things to the system, the way the players applied themselves and the effort they put in.

    "The huge frustration for me is the two VAR interventions. We've had six go against us in the last weeks and a couple today, which I haven't seen yet.

    "The lads were saying the first one was probably a penalty but the second one was very dubious. It gets a bit sickening after a while."

    What's next?

    Live SPFL

    St Johnstone's next Scottish Premiership match is away to St Mirren on February 24, while Rangers host Hearts.

    Both games kick-off at 3pm.

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