Rangers Bebo Loyal <wereonourwayto55>
"GLASGOW RANGERS CHAMPIONS 09 / 10 / 11"
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|Gers win 4-0 to close gap to 5 points after celtic lose 2-0 to motherwell||125 weeks ago|
|Nikica Jelavic's double helped ensure that Rangers defeated St Johstone to narrow the gap at the top of the Scottish Premier League to five points.|
Jelavic fired the opener after four minutes at Ibrox.
Jody Morris forced Rangers keeper Allan McGregor into a superb save before Kyle Lafferty headed the home side's second four minutes short of the break.
Papac's fine finish made it 3-0 on 81 minutes and Jelavic swept in another for the home side in stoppage time.
And the victory ensured that the Ibrox men capitalised on Celtic's slip up earlier in the day.
Combined with the SPL leaders' 2-0 defeat away to Motherwell, the reigning champions are now five points behind with two games in hand.
It completed a heartening few days for Walter Smith's side, who responded to last Sunday's defeat at Celtic Park with progress in the Europa League.
Lafferty scored Rangers' second goal against Saints at Ibrox
Rangers captain David Weir had been rested after overcoming illness to play against Sporting on Thursday, the veteran's place at the heart of the defence being taken by Kyle Bartley.
The introduction of Jelavic, Lafferty, Vladimir Weiss and David Healy added to the home side's attacking options, with El-Hadji Diouf, Richard Foster and John Fleck being the others to drop out.
And it only took another four minutes for the Ibrox men to add an opening goal to the celebrations.
A shot from Maurice Edu - who netted the decisive goal in Portugal - was blocked and Jelavic was the first to react and pounce on the loose ball before dispatching an unstoppable volley past the grasp of Peter Enckelman.
There were suggestions that the ball had struck the hand of Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra in the build-up, but referee Steven McLean pointed to the centre circle.
Lafferty attempted to add to the scoreline, but the St Johnstone goalkeeper was up to the task this time and able to smother at the near post.
Saints had made just one change following their draw with Dundee United, with Stevie May replacing the injured Jamie Adams, but they were forced into a defensive reshuffle after 17 minutes, with Alan Maybury coming on for the influential but injured Michael Duberry.
Rangers were threatening again when Lafferty whipped a cross into the box from the left that was missed by Jelavic and fell for Healy, but the Northern Irishman's shot was blocked well by Enckelman.
The home side had to make a change of their own when Weiss limped off and youngster Gregg Wylde was thrown into the action after 27 minutes.
Lafferty then squandered a great chance when he collected a lovely pass from Steven Davis only to hook well over when he should at least have tested the goalkeeper.
The big striker fired straight into Enckelman's arms when Lafferty remained onside with only the goalkeeper to beat, with Davis again the provider.
St Johnstone had rarely threatened but would have equalised if McGregor had not produced a breathtaking save from a fine Morris drive.
Cleveland Taylor then sliced just wide from 18 yards as the Perth side and went close.
Lafferty eventually succeeded four minutes before the break when he rose to meet Wylde's corner and sent a firm header into the back of the net.
Rangers were looking comfortable in the second half, but Murray Davidson came close to forcing them into a re-think with an effort into the side-netting.
Saints were beginning to dominate long phases of play, but Edu sent a powerful low drive just wide as the home side responded on the break.
Liam Craig went close for St Johnstone with a header, but Papac ensured there would be no fightback by finishing superbly after playing a one-two with Jelavic before scoring his fourth goal in six games against the Saints.
There was still time for Rangers to have penalty claims rejected when Enckelman came off his line to clatter Wylde.
However, the winger did have a hand in a goal, cutting the ball back for Jelavic to score in the dying seconds
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