What beating St Johnstone could mean for Rangers


While Mark Warburton has, on the surface, tried to peddle the line that he and his team have been 100% focused on the league and have paid no heed to any upcoming cup matches, the last two performances have tentatively suggested the players at least may have had one eye on the visit of St Johnstone on Tuesday.

In a recent entry I speculated that teams had possibly figured Warburton’s tactics out, hence the diminished displays in the past two weeks from the Ibrox men, but a comment to the article in question made a very valid point:

Rather than these sides figuring Warburton out, they simply stuck 10 men behind the ball and tried to defend for 90 minutes. It is a fair conclusion; admittedly its flaw is that Dumbarton actually looked more likely to score until Martyn Waghorn opened the scoring for the visitors on Saturday, but nevertheless it is tough to break down stubborn opposition who ‘park the bus’.

Whatever assumption is correct (maybe a combination of both) there can be little doubt that the players surely have been a little distracted over the past two matches. St Johnstone on Tuesday is arguably the biggest test yet, and these players want to prove themselves up against better opposition.

Energetic midfielder Andy Halliday is understandably a little fed up of matches having ‘big test’ attributed to them, however, with the moniker glued to many an encounter this season.

That said, Mark Warburton’s new-look and well-oiled Rangers will find themselves up against Premiership opposition for the first time, and despite claiming it is just another game (as he should), privately Warburton will be demanding his side spread their feathers with gusto to prove they have what it takes to play at the big boys’ table.

With that in mind, Warburton clearly made some unenforced changes, with Dominic Ball coming in for Rob Kiernan and Kenny Miller replacing on-loan Nathan Oduwa. The switch of Nicky Law for Jason Holt was enforced, the latter picking up a small knee-tweak in training. Hopefully he will be available come Tuesday.

Consequently Warburton evidently wants to have his strongest eleven at his disposal, and going by the Raith demolition that would presumably be Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace, Halliday, Zelalem, Holt, McKay, Waghorn and Oduwa.

St Johnstone are having a pretty average season in the top flight – two wins, two draws and four defeats is far from a promising return, so Rangers will have an excellent barometer to judge themselves on. A solid midtable SPL team comes to Ibrox on Tuesday and should Rangers prevail, as Halliday put it so appositely:

It will shut a few people up.


  1. When it comes to Tuesday every player will be on their game, st johnstone will come to play and we will win by 3 goals WATP

  2. I know it may sound stupid but perhaps Warbs didnt change anything to see if these players could cope with the situation as it isnt something we've came up against yet. We can come from behind to win, as we've seen, so that isnt a problem and may not have been a worry for him. Anyway I am going to trust that there was a proper and forward thinking reason for it rather than last seasons no other option.

  3. I think this game is an important one for Rangers to win. It puts down a marker for the rest of the season. We are ,undoubtedly, strong enough to win the Championship…..a few of the players have said they are proof enough to beat any premier opposition..nows the time to put those words into action.

  4. Rangers showed patience to overcome Dumbarton. Nobody panicked because they knew that with so many players behind the ball and playing so deep Dumbarton would not be able to hold on for 90 minutes. Well done to Waghorn for picking them off the way he did. Special mention too to Foderingham who made a couple of important stops when the sides were level.
    Rangers will be up for it against Saint Johnstone and should pass this test – even Ally's mediocre assembly managed to beat SPL teams last season so Warb's XI should fare no worse.

  5. st.johnstone could come out all guns blazing at ibrox…if they do, that will surely suit rangers and the gers will destroy them…I would think that they will be a little more careful and play the way that the great messi complained about when walter smiths rangers held barcelona…if they do the latter then it is up to the guys to break them down…the fitness levels and skills will be enough for another victory to our boys…WATP come on the gers!

    • I agree. St Johnstone would surely wish to prove that no matter what Rangers are doing in the Championship. that they are a stronger side, simply because they are a division above us. If they are going to bring the game to us, we could have a great game tomorrow night. This Rangers team has fitness, strength and guile . Bring them on!!

  6. it will be a big scalp to take and show the rest we are ready to take them all on,i say we will beat them 3-0 and it will be a easy win for us,then will go on and win the cup.

  7. Bizarrely I'm looking forward to our defence being tested on Tuesday. It's something only Hibs have done so far and I'd be fair to say we just came out of it with a 1-0 win. Hibs had some glorious chances which luckily they spurned.

    As Warburton reiterates week in week out, there needs to be a balance on and off the pitch, the players and management will be eager to test themselves against average Prem opposition so this really is Gers biggest 'test' so far.

    Lets enjoy a potentially open game tomorrow, definitely putting money on both teams to score!

  8. this is our champions league I believe if we win this game we will go on and win the cup and get us back into Europe this is what we deserve and who is to say we cant win the Europa cup we would take five of ajax no problem

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