16.09.2023 19:01 h

Rangers sink St Johnstone to ease pressure on Beale

Rangers eased the pressure on under-fire boss Michael Beale with a 2-0 win at St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.

Beale was subjected to stinging criticism following defeats against Celtic and PSV Eindhoven before the international break.

A loss against lowly St Johnstone would have heaped more misery on the former QPR manager.

But Brazilian striker Danilo headed Rangers in front after 16 minutes at McDiarmid Park and substitute Rabbi Matondo added the second goal in the 79th minute.

It was another unconvincing Rangers performance against a side who are still looking for their first league win this season.

But Beale was grateful for three points that at least gave him a little breathing space after such a turbulent period.

"The game was scrappy at times, we still have work to do but it was a 2-0 win and it was comfortable," Beale said.

Rangers begin their Europa League campaign with a home game against Real Betis on Thursday and they will hope this result can be a foundation for a sustained winning run.

Beale's men took the lead following a rapid counter from a St Johnstone corner.

James Tavernier took a pass from Nicolas Raskin, played a one-two with Sam Lammers and went past Graham Carey before crossing for Danilo to head past keeper Dimitar Mitov from six yards.

Rangers striker Kemar Roofe had the ball in the net from a Abdallah Sima cut-back but the goal was ruled out for an infringement.

Tom Lawrence had a drive saved by Mitov before providing the assist for his side's second goal.

Matondo raced on to Lawrence's pass and slipped the ball past Mitov to seal a valuable victory.

While Rangers have made a slow start this season, their Glasgow rivals Celtic sit top of the table after a 3-0 win against Dundee at Parkhead.

David Turnbull beat Trevor Carson from the penalty spot in the 51st minute after being fouled by Grant Irvine as he held off a challenge from Ryan Howley on the edge of the area.

Initially a free-kick was awarded, but VAR official Steven Kirkland upgraded the award to a penalty and Turnbull converted down the middle.

Kyogo Furuhashi doubled the champions' lead in the 63rd minute, despite heading down the tunnel during the first half for treatment to a recurring shoulder injury.

The Japanese striker made an untracked run to meet Callum McGregor's cross and head home from 12 yards.

Furuhashi turned provider four minutes later as he ran on to Alistair Johnston's pass to cut the ball back for Matt O'Riley to side-foot home.

Elsewhere, St Mirren replaced Motherwell in second place after Scott Tanser scored the only goal of a 1-0 win at Fir Park.

Steven Naismith marked his first game as Hearts' permanent head coach with a 2-0 win over struggling Aberdeen at Tynecastle.

Kilmarnock drew 2-2 against Hibernian and Ross County shared a 1-1 draw with Livingston.