Steven Gerrard insists no one is getting carried away at Ibrox after Rangers enjoyed their biggest home top-flight win in five years to overwhelm St Johnstone and rise to second in the league.
The Rangers manager said his side had relished the situation where they knew they could go above Celtic, who had fallen 2-1 to Kilmarnock earlier in the afternoon.
Rangers certainly showed no signs of being under pressure as they brushed aside St Johnstone. The 5-1 win came courtesy of five different scorers, with the Ibrox side moving into second, five points behind leaders Hearts.
They were four points adrift of Celtic after a 1-0 defeat by their rivals earlier this month in what was Rangers’ worst opening to a league campaign since 1989.
High-scoring wins over Dundee and St Johnstone means the side’s league start has now been granted a different perspective. We won’t be getting carried away,” said Gerrard. “I knew the opening four games of the season would be tough the way the fixtures fell.
“I looked at these two home games against Dundee and
St Johnstone and with all due respect I was looking to take maximum points and we have delivered on that.
“Now it’s about getting into a semi-final of a cup [against Ayr United] and then getting ready to go to a different kind of test at Livingston and making sure we are strong. We will do everything we can do to get another three points.”
Gerrard said knowledge of
Celtic’s defeat at Rugby Park, combined with Hearts dropping points a day earlier against Livingston, only encouraged his side.
“The results over the weekend – not just Celtic, but Hearts as well – gave us a bit of a spring in our step,” he said. “When we are presented with opportunities like that we have to make sure we’re ready to pounce. That’s especially if we’re off the top.
“Any time someone above us drops points we have to capitalise on that and I thought we did. We were very strong and played some really good stuff.
“When I took over I knew it would take time.
“But at times today we looked really dangerous going forward and could have scored a couple more goals. We rattled the woodwork a few times but that’s the way we’ve got to be at home. When teams come here we’ve got to give them a difficult 90 minutes.
“Out of possession, we were good too – we weren’t lazy with everyone buying into the fact we had to match St Johnstone early on. We had to fight and battle and once we won that we knew our quality would take over.”
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright, pictured, bemoaned that his side made it tough for themselves. “I thought Rangers played really well but a lot of the goals we could have defended better,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve been here before when we created less chances and won,” he added. “They were clinical this time but we could have helped ourselves with how we defended.”
St Johnstone now host Celtic in the Betfred Cup last eight on Wednesday. Wright said: “Wednesday night gives us an opportunity to get to a semi-final. It’s a cup game, a one-off. Celtic will be hurting after today but we’re hurting as well and we’ll be looking for a better performance.”