Rangers 0-0 St Johnstone: Progress continuing under Pedro

In the final closed-doors warm-up match Rangers were held to a 0-0 draw with fellow Europa League hopefuls, St Johnstone.

Once again we have evaluated the new players for those of you who haven't signed up to Rangers TV yet. 

Dalcio was bright in most areas again. The Benfica man was often found in central areas when the ball was wide right, which was encouraging. Despite this, there was still no evidence of a decent end-product. 

Ryan Jack was quietly going about his business, with nothing major to talk about. He looks very comfortable next to Jason Holt, and the defence appear very well protected as a result, gifting great freedom to Wallace and Tavernier going forward.

Fabio Cardoso was caught napping on a few occasions in the first half, but generally wasn't tested throughout. He's still a young man, and we could probably expect greater focus when Big Bad Bruno is keeping him right.

Alfredo Morelos again replaced Martyn Waghorn for the final quarter and he quickly looked to cause St Johnstone problems, nearly scoring a few minutes later. His link up and hold up play was very good again and he was always available to receive the ball. He certainly isn't afraid to compete in the air against taller opponents. Hopefully we'll get to see more of him against Progrès Niederkorn next week. Morelos has definitely threatened more than Waghorn in half as many minutes is his two appearances so far.

Daniel Candeias came on at the same time as Morelos and he too made an immediate impact on the game. Candeias was firing dangerous balls in to the box at every opportunity from wide left. We didn't get to see him for very long, but what we saw was very encouraging.

As far as the rest of the team are concerned, Tavernier looked very dangerous down his flank, being well picked out by Kranjcar at every opportunity. Tav was also making great interceptions around half-way and breaking forward at pace. Very good to see from the Englishman.

If Kranjcar was off-the-pace against The New Saints, he was very much on-the-pace against the Scottish Saints. With the right pacey players around him, Niko can really exploit opposition defences and he looks certain to start next week. 

Jordan Rossiter made a very good impression again in the fifteen minutes he played and as long as he stays fit, he's going to seriously challenge Jason Holt for a starting position. His quick, decisive passing and good vision really does remind you of a young  'Stevie G' at times. Great to finally see Rossiter show what he can do.

Overall, Rangers were much sharper going forward with far more attempts on goal. Martyn Waghorn even hit the target a few times. 

The best chance of the match fell to Jason Holt who combined well with Waghorn for a one-two meaning he only had the goalkeeper to beat, with the far side of the goal gaping. All Holt had to do was pass the ball in to the net with his left foot. Frustratingly, Holt used the outside of his right foot and barely challenged the St Johnstone stopper as a result (how professional footballers get away with not developing their weaker foot from a young age, I'll never know). 

Pedro Caixinha's Rangers are heading in the right direction but Progrès is probably slower than many fans would like. 

Progrès starting XI prediction:


Tavernier, McCrorie, Cardoso, Wallace

Jack, Holt, Kranjcar

Dalcio, Morelos, Miller

Based on the selections made by Pedro Caixinha so far, Waghorn and Bates might be expected to start ahead of Morelos and McCrorie respectively - but especially in Waghorn's case, let's hope not.

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