Boyd is now five goals short of Henrik Larsson's SPL goals record
By Andy Campbell
Rangers stayed in touch with Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic with a comfortable win over St Johnstone.
Kris Boyd fired the home side into a first-minute lead and grabbed a second from the penalty spot on 27 minutes after Nacho Novo had been fouled.
Novo registered his first league goal of the season in the 51st minute and also struck the woodwork.
Chris Millar had Saints' best efforts, the midfielder forcing a save from Neil Alexander in each half.
The Ibrox club are now two points behind Celtic, who have played one game more.
A defensive error gifted Rangers the opening goal barely seconds after kick-off.
Graham Gartland conceded possession to DaMarcus Beasley, who played in Boyd on the edge of the box and the striker turned and stroked the ball past stranded goalkeeper Graeme Smith.
Buoyed by the early breakthrough, Rangers looked for a quick second and Madjid Bougherra's pass was flicked up and volleyed towards goal by Kenny Miller, forcing Smith to make an impressive save.
The visitors settled themselves and, after Rangers failed to clear a corner, Millar's powerful strike from distance was beaten wide by Alexander.
Kirk Broadfoot, back in the Rangers starting line-up after a nine-month injury absence, almost marked his return with a goal but could not direct his header on target after being found by Novo.
Sasa Papac's shot was deflected wide of the Saints goal shortly before Rangers were awarded a penalty.
Steven Anderson's short pass-back was intercepted by Novo and, as he tried to round Smith, the Spaniard was adjudged to have been tripped by the goalkeeper.
Boyd slammed home the spot-kick to claim his 12th goal of the season.
The 26-year-old was twice denied a hat-trick late in the opening half, first from Smith's excellent reflex save and then by the assistant referee's flag, with the striker having strayed offside before curling the ball into the net.
More slackness by St Johnstone led to Rangers' third as Danny Grainger failed to make a clearance, allowing Beasley to race away and cross for Miller.
The Scotland international saw his saw his shot blocked by Smith, but Novo arrived promptly to smash home the rebound.
Millar again threatened the Rangers goal with a header after substitute Kenny Deuchar's flick-on, but Alexander dived to his right to make the save.
Novo was inches away from scoring again when he cut in from the left and struck a low shot against the post and Beasley also came close with a powerful effort that was blocked by Smith.
Rangers continued to dominate towards the end of the match but could not turn the pressure into more goals.
Rangers manager Walter Smith: "We're delighted by today's performance.
"We created a whole load of opportunities; I'm a little bit disappointed that we didn't add to our scoreline.
"We got off to a great start, scoring in the first few seconds of the game. Overall, I felt everyone worked very hard.
"We had two wingers in the wider area of the pitch in Nacho Novo and DaMarcus Beasley. They played very well and worked very hard for the team.
"Kirk Broadfoot was excellent today. He played very well, considering the length of time he's been out. Everyone's delighted to see him back."
St Johnstone manager Derek McInnes: "It was such a ridiculous start. To find yourself so quickly going behind is a sore one to take.
"Some of the defending today was indefensible. I can't excuse that. At this level, there were so many poor decisions from us defensively.
"I don't think Rangers had to do a lot to get their win and that's the galling part of it.
"There were still positives from the game. There was a lot we could be pleased about in terms of passing."
Live text and stats
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Boyd (pen) 27
08 Thomson (McCulloch 61)
20 Beasley (Fleck 73)
18 Miller (Lafferty 79)
18 Gartland (Irvine 87)
22 Morais (Swankie 68)
30 Johansson (Deuchar 58)
Ref: McDonaldAtt: 44,662
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+0:55 The ball is crossed by Gary Irvine, clearance made by Sasa Papac.
90:00+0:34 John Fleck crosses the ball.
90:00+0:24 Kyle Lafferty delivers the ball, clearance made by Daniel Grainger.
89:16 Corner taken right-footed by Nacho Novo from the left by-line, Sasa Papac produces a left-footed shot from just outside the
box that goes wide right of the goal.
88:13 A cross is delivered by Gary Irvine, clearance made by Madjid Bougherra.
87:36 The ball is crossed by Gary Irvine.
86:22 Daniel Grainger takes the free kick.
86:22 Substitution (St Johnstone) makes a substitution, with Gary Irvine coming on for Graham Gartland.
86:22 Unfair challenge on Graham Gartland by Kris Boyd results in a free kick.
86:00 Madjid Bougherra produces a cross, blocked by Daniel Grainger.
85:34 A cross is delivered by Gavin Swankie.
84:07 Murray Davidson concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Davis. Steven Davis takes the free kick.
83:48 A cross is delivered by Daniel Grainger, clearance by Madjid Bougherra.
83:37 A cross is delivered by David MacKay, clearance made by David Weir.
83:01 The official flags Kris Boyd offside. Indirect free kick taken by Graham Gartland.
82:28 Nacho Novo produces a cross, Graeme Smith makes a save.
82:10 The ball is sent over by Daniel Grainger, clearance by Madjid Bougherra.
80:23 The ball is crossed by Kyle Lafferty, Shot from close range by John Fleck clears the bar.
78:16 Substitution (Rangers) makes a substitution, with Kyle Lafferty coming on for Kenny Miller.
77:44 John Fleck takes a shot. Blocked by David MacKay.
77:28 The ball is crossed by Chris Millar.
75:16 Kevin Moon takes a shot. Save by Neil Alexander.
74:48 The assistant referee flags for offside against Kris Boyd. Graeme Smith takes the indirect free kick.
73:38 The ball is sent over by Steven Davis, Shot from deep inside the area by Nacho Novo clears the crossbar.
72:02 Substitution DaMarcus Beasley leaves the field to be replaced by John Fleck.
71:40 The ball is delivered by Chris Millar, save made by Neil Alexander.
71:30 The ball is sent over by David MacKay, Lee McCulloch manages to make a clearance.
71:03 Gavin Swankie produces a cross, David Weir manages to make a clearance.
70:18 Corner from right by-line taken by DaMarcus Beasley.
70:02 DaMarcus Beasley takes a shot. Graeme Smith makes a save.
68:17 Chris Millar sends in a cross.
67:29 Graeme Smith takes the direct free kick.
67:29 Substitution Gavin Swankie on for Filipe Morais.
67:29 Filipe Morais fouled by Nacho Novo, the ref awards a free kick.
66:58 Corner taken by DaMarcus Beasley played to the near post, clearance by Kenny Deuchar.
66:49 The ball is delivered by Kirk Broadfoot, Daniel Grainger gets a block in.
65:00 Kris Boyd is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Graeme Smith.
64:49 The ball is delivered by Kenny Miller.
64:12 Chris Millar crosses the ball.
63:42 Shot by Nacho Novo from inside the penalty area bounces off the post.
62:38 Shot by David MacKay from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.
60:55 Graeme Smith takes the free kick.
60:55 Substitution (Rangers) makes a substitution, with Lee McCulloch coming on for Kevin Thomson.
60:55 The offside flag is raised against Kris Boyd.
60:09 The ball is delivered by Kevin Moon, Chris Millar takes a shot. Save made by Neil Alexander.
59:52 Kris Boyd is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Filipe Morais restarts play with the free kick.
58:59 Nacho Novo fouled by Jody Morris, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Steven Davis.
57:24 Substitution Kenny Deuchar is brought on as a substitute for Jonatan Johansson.
57:12 Long range shot by Kevin Moon goes wide right of the goal.
56:27 The ball is sent over by Filipe Morais, clearance made by Madjid Bougherra.
53:49 Filipe Morais sends in a cross, Kirk Broadfoot gets a block in.
50:38 GOAL - Nacho Novo:Rangers 3 - 0 St Johnstone Nacho Novo fires in a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Rangers 3-0 St Johnstone.
50:25 Kenny Miller takes a shot. Save made by Graeme Smith.
50:14 DaMarcus Beasley crosses the ball.
47:39 The ball is crossed by Kevin Moon.
47:14 Inswinging corner taken by Filipe Morais from the left by-line played to the near post, Kenny Miller manages to make a clearance.
45:25 Kenny Miller concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Anderson. Steven Anderson restarts play with the free kick.
45:01 The second half begins.
45:00+0:36 The ref blows to end the first period.
44:20 The offside flag is raised against Kris Boyd. Graeme Smith restarts play with the free kick.
43:26 The ball is crossed by David Weir, Kris Boyd takes a shot. Save by Graeme Smith.
43:03 The ball is delivered by Filipe Morais, David Weir makes a clearance.
41:50 Kris Boyd is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Graeme Smith.
40:45 The ball is swung over by Sasa Papac, clearance made by Steven Anderson.
40:15 Sasa Papac delivers the ball, clearance made by Steven Anderson.
38:59 Effort on goal by Kenny Miller from just inside the area clears the bar.
38:22 Kirk Broadfoot fouled by Jonatan Johansson, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by DaMarcus Beasley
from right wing, clearance made by Steven Anderson.
35:13 The ball is swung over by Murray Davidson, Madjid Bougherra makes a clearance.
32:32 The referee blows for offside. Neil Alexander restarts play with the free kick.
32:04 Inswinging corner taken by Filipe Morais from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Kenny Miller.
31:16 Filipe Morais takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Kenny Miller manages to make a clearance.
31:08 The ball is delivered by Daniel Grainger, blocked by Madjid Bougherra.
27:25 The referee gives a free kick against David MacKay for handball. Steven Davis takes the direct free kick.
26:52 GOAL - Kris Boyd:Rangers 2 - 0 St Johnstone Power penalty scored by Kris Boyd. Rangers 2-0 St Johnstone.
25:44 Nacho Novo fouled by Graeme Smith, the ref awards a Penalty.
22:37 Corner taken right-footed by Nacho Novo to the near post, Graeme Smith makes a save.
22:20 Kirk Broadfoot crosses the ball, Sasa Papac takes a shot. Blocked by David MacKay.
22:08 The ball is crossed by Nacho Novo.
21:35 The ball is swung over by Madjid Bougherra, Steven Anderson manages to make a clearance.
20:03 Sasa Papac challenges Chris Millar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Filipe Morais, Kenny Miller makes
18:44 Kevin Thomson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Murray Davidson. Free kick crossed by Steven Anderson, Madjid
Bougherra makes a clearance.
17:57 Daniel Grainger is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. DaMarcus Beasley crosses the ball, Kirk Broadfoot has
a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
14:51 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Filipe Morais, clearance made by David Weir.
14:34 Chris Millar takes a shot. Save by Neil Alexander.
13:57 Corner from the right by-line taken by Daniel Grainger, David Weir makes a clearance.
13:19 Daniel Grainger challenges DaMarcus Beasley unfairly and gives away a free kick. DaMarcus Beasley takes the free kick.
11:52 The referee blows for offside against Kris Boyd. Indirect free kick taken by Daniel Grainger.
10:22 Shot from outside the box by DaMarcus Beasley goes wide right of the target.
9:56 Madjid Bougherra sends in a cross, blocked by Daniel Grainger.
9:28 DaMarcus Beasley takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Graham Gartland manages to make a clearance.
9:05 The ball is delivered by DaMarcus Beasley, Daniel Grainger makes a clearance. DaMarcus Beasley takes a shot. Blocked by Daniel
8:00 David Weir takes a shot. Murray Davidson gets a block in.
7:39 Corner taken right-footed by Nacho Novo, save by Graeme Smith.
7:13 Nacho Novo takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Chris Millar manages to make a clearance.
6:58 Kenny Miller takes a shot. Save by Graeme Smith.
6:18 Kirk Broadfoot sends in a cross, clearance made by Graham Gartland.
5:57 David MacKay produces a cross, clearance made by Kirk Broadfoot.
1:20 Murray Davidson fouled by Kevin Thomson, the ref awards a free kick. Jody Morris takes the free kick.
0:40 Assist on the goal came from DaMarcus Beasley.
0:40 GOAL - Kris Boyd:Rangers 1 - 0 St Johnstone A goal is scored by Kris Boyd from the edge of the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Rangers 1-0 St Johnstone.
0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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