St Johnstone vs RangersScottish Premiership, KO: 12:30 Sep 16, 2023, McDiarmid Park
RANGERS headed into the international break on a massive downer after their Old Firm defeat and Michael Beale can't afford another slip up when his side return to action away to struggling St Johnstone.
Both myself and Mark fancied the Ibrox side to win that derby with Celtic suffering injuries to key players at the back but instead if was the Hoops who emerged victorious to open up a four-point lead over their bitter rivals.
Some fans wanted Beale to be axed but the board have decided to keep faith with the Londoner after backing him with the finances for a massive summer rebuild.
Most of his new signings have failed to impress so far and Rangers need to start stringing some wins together, starting with this trip to Perth.
St Johnstone's start to the season was shambolic as they lost to Stenhousemuir, Ayr United and Stirling Albion in their league group then failed to pick up a point in their first two SPFL Premiership games.
Boss Steven MacLean brought in a host of new players just before the transfer window shut and it will take time for Saints to gel as they bid to avoid another battle against the drop.
If they show the same spirit that's been on display in the last two games, however, St Johnstone could upset the odds and pile on the pain for Rangers if Beale's team continue to stutter.
How the bookies view it
Recent head to head
St Johnstone helped push Giovanni van Bronckhorst towards the exit door at Rangers when they claimed a 2-1 win over the Ibrox side at McDiarmid Park last season. But Rangers have dominated this fixture apart from that slip-up, winning six of the last seven meetings.
Players to watch
Max Kucheriavyi must surely have earned a starting slot from St Johnstone after coming off the bench to turn the game against Dundee with a late double. The Ukrainian playmaker is 13/2 at Bet365 for another goal here.
It will be interesting to see if Beale rings the changes after that derby disappointment. Skipper James Tavernier will definitely start though and he's always good value for a goal with his set-piece prowess. The full-back is 2/1 with Bet365 to add to his four-goal tally this term.
Anything else catch the eye?
St Johnstone will probably follow the same blueprint that helped them surprise Celtic so under 2.5 goals stands a chance at 6.4 with BetVictor given Saints will probably defend deep.
Betting on Celtic corners paid off for me in that Parkhead draw and the Hoops went on to win 19-1 on the corner count. That makes Rangers worth a look in the corner handicap here, although I've yet to see any prices for that market. Bet365 do have other corner bets though and over 10.5 flag kicks looks good at evens, while I fancy over five first-half corners at 11/8.
With both sides in desperate need of a victory, this could be a fiesty affair but I've yet to see any card prices.
This Scottish Premiership match between St Johnstone and Rangers will be played on Sep 16, 2023 and kick off at 12:30. Check below for our tipsters best St Johnstone vs Rangers prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.