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BBC Sport's Chick Young and Murdo MacLeod
report from Ibrox
 real 14k

Rangers boss Dick Advocaat
"We controlled the game from the first minute"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 26 December, 2000, 19:27 GMT
Unhappy Boxing Day for Saints
Neil McCann drives home Rangers' opener
Neil McCann drives home Rangers' opener
Rangers 3-0 St Johnstone

Rangers kept pace with leaders Celtic with a workmanlike victory over St Johnstone.

Goals from Neil McCann, Fernando Ricksen and Tore Andre Flo were enough to end the Perth side's hopes of recording their first Premier League win at Ibrox.

But it was an uninspiring display by the reigning champions and the biggest talking point was the substitution of Michael Mols after only 29 minutes.

Rangers had been boosted by the return of 12m striker Flo.


The Norwegian had missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury but made a late appearance from the bench.

Tugay and Arthur Numan were restored to the Rangers starting line-up at the expense of Sergio Porrini and the suspended Jorg Albertz.

Fernando Ricksen celebrates his goal
Fernando Ricksen celebrates his goal
Former Coventry and Dundee United winger Michael O'Neill was in the St Johnstone side as Nick Dasovic dropped to the bench.

Tommy Lovenkrands was also preferred to Paddy Connolly as the Saints went in search of their first win at Ibrox since 1971.

St Johnstone were the first to threaten, Momo Sylla's inswinging free kick being punched clear by Stefan Klos at the back post under pressure from Darren Dods.


Ronald de Boer quickly replied for Rangers with 20-yard drive that bounced off the chest of goalkeeper Alan Main.

Sylla created the Perth side's best chance, his corner to the front post finding Dods climbing above his marker.

But the big defender was unlucky to see his header come off the top of the crossbar.

Main came to St Johnstone's rescue after 27 minutes.

A surprise

The ball broke to Claudio Reyna 16 yards out and the American's powerful drive was turned over the bar instinctively by the goalkeeper.

Two minutes later, Ibrox manager Dick Advocaat sprung a surprise, pulling off Mols.

Tore Andre Flo heads Rangers' third
Tore Andre Flo heads Rangers' third
The Dutch international striker was obviously unhappy, walking straight up the tunnel after he was replaced with Kenny Miller.

But the move worked after a further two minutes.

Reyna chipped into the box and Jim Weir could only flick his header into the path of the unmarked McCann.

Punched clear

Advocaat had warned that the winger was a major danger now that he had found his form and McCann responded by half volleying the ball into the far corner from 15 yards.

Dasovic replaced Paul Kane at half-time and St Johnstone began to regain some presence in midfield.

Bollan tested Klos with a 25-yard drive that the German punched clear awkwardly.

But Rangers settled their nerves after 54 minutes.

Struck a post

McCann's cross was flicked on speculatively by Miller and Ricksen came in at the back post to blast home his first goal for Rangers.

A Sylla free-kick was turned over the bar by Klos then a Miller header struck a post.

The third Rangers goal came after 87 minutes.

Substitute Allan Johnston's cross slipped through the hands of Main and Flo headed home from a couple of yards.

Rangers: Klos, Ricksen, Konterman, Amoruso, Numan, Reyna, Ferguson, Tugay, McCann, de Boer, Mols.

Subs: Christensen, Flo, Miller, Johnston, Ross.

St Johnstone: Main, Sylla, Dods, McCluskey, Weir, Bollan, McBride, Kane, O'Neill., Lovenkrands, Parker.

Subs: Cuthbert, McCulloch, Dasovic, Connolly, Forsyth.

Referee: M McCurry.

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