RANGERS moved above Celtic in the cinch Premiership table for the first time in two years with a comfortable 3-0 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park in Perth this afternoon.

With the Parkhead club being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Kilmarnock yesterday, they had the opportunity to leapfrog their city rivals into top spot in the table. They grasped it with both hands.  

A first half Mohamed Diomande goal, his first for the Ibrox club, and two late James Tavernier penalties, which were both awarded following VAR checks, secured a triumph which delighted their supporters.

It is the first time that Rangers, who are now two points clear and also have a superior goal difference, have been above Celtic after playing the same number of games since February 2022.

There is a growing feeling throughout Scottish football that Philippe Clement’s team have what it takes to pip Brendan Rodgers’ side to the title

Here are five talking points from the encounter.


Clement freshened up his team before kick-off and made no fewer than five changes to the starting line-up which took to the field for the league meeting against Ross County at Ibrox in midweek.

Out went left back Ridvan Yilmaz, central midfielder Tom Lawrence, wingers Rabbi Matondo, Ross McCausland and striker Cyriel Dessers and in came Borna Barisic, Mohamed Diomande, Oscar Cortes, Scott Wright and Fabio Silva.

It is far from the first time the former Genk, Club Brugge and Monaco manager has performed such extensive surgery. But on every occasion that he has his men have delivered.

St Johnstone made life difficult for their opponents. The poor playing surface did not help the visitors either. It took two late penalties to wrap up all three points. Still, they got the job done.  

The influence of their skipper Tavernier, who took his tally for the season to 19 with his brace, was once again significant. The right back has now been target on no fewer than 120 occasions for Rangers.


The versatile Ivorian had made his first start in a light blue jersey in the Scottish Cup win over Ayr United in the playmaker berth last week and acquitted himself well.

But the former Nordsjaelland man, a £4.5m signing during the January transfer window, prefers to play in a slightly deeper role and believes he is most effective as a box-to-box midfielder. He got the chance to show what he can do in his favoured position today.

He made quite an impact alongside John Lundstram. He worked hard to win possession in the centre of the park and to break down the hosts’ attacks. He broke the deadlock with the first moment of real quality in the game.

The ball fell to him 25 yards out eight minutes before half-time. He teed up his shot with his left foot and fired beyond the outstretched Dimitar Mitov with his weaker right. The 22-year-old is not a regular scorer. It was his first goal since last May. But his finish was exquisite.

Diomande teed up Silva for an attempt early in the second half with a cross from wide on the right and continued to work hard.

He has stiff competition for a start at Rangers from Lundstram, Ryan Jack, Lawrence, Nicolas Raskin and Dujon Sterling. He has, though, increased his chances of being involved with his assured showing this afternoon. You sense there is much more to come from him.  


Lundstram has been a man transformed since Clement took over from Michael Beale in Govan back in October. The English midfielder has shown the sort of form that he did during the run to Europa League final back in the 2021/22 campaign. He is rarely if ever left out these days.

The former Sheffield United man turned 30 today and celebrated his birthday with a typically commanding performance. He headed a goal-bound Matt Smith free-kick over the crossbar at 1-0. He is out of contract in the summer and has still to sign an extension. Keeping him at Ibrox should be a priority for his employers.  


This was a chance for Scott Wright to show his manager that he deserves to get a run in the Rangers first team. He failed to take it. The former Aberdeen winger was unable to make any kind of impact during the opening 45 minutes and failed to reappear after half-time. He place was taken by Sterling.

To be fair to the 26-year-old, he was not the only one who laboured. But he has to start showing more, far more, to feature regularly. Sterling, who is a right back, did better than his club mate during his time on the park. It was his tenacity out wide which won the first spot kick.


Dan Phillips, Ryan McGowan and Connor Smith all returned to the St Johnstone  team for the visit of Rangers and the Perth club competed well for long spells, contained their rivals and withstood relentless pressure until Diomande struck.

Todd Cantwell, who was replaced by Lawrence on the hour mark, was the victim of a few robust challenges, not least when David Keltjens took him out during the first half.

But Craig Levein’s charges, who have now lost three league games on the spin, must start to offer more going forward if they are move away from the foot of the table and avoid getting dragged into a relegation dogfight. They failed to test Jack Butland all afternoon.

St Johnstone are just five points ahead of second bottom Ross County with 12 games remaining. If they can continue to show the same heart and add more of a cutting edge in the final third they can ensure their survival.