Scottish Football: Hateley earns the nod

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St Johnstone. . . .0

Rangers . . . . . .4

Hateley 14, 22, Steven 51, Durie 78.

Attendance: 10,056

GOUGH and Goram? Forget them, and as for McCoist and Durrant, who needs them? Rangers, weakened by injuries to these four plus McPherson, Brown, Robertson and Duncan Ferguson - Ian Ferguson is suspended - had to dig deep into their resources and turn to players who had all but been forgotten.

For instance, Oleg Kuznetsov, who has been wandering the Ibrox corridors like a forlorn and broken man, found he was back in the first team and his appearance at McDiarmid Park was not without poignancy. The Ukrainian last played here in October 1990, just after his pounds 1.5m transfer from Dynamo Kiev, and sustained a serious knee injury from which he never fully recovered. He regained fitness after a long and at times lonely slog, but he could not win back his first-team place and Rangers have been trying to offload him ever since.

Expediency is the name of the game for Rangers these days, however, and the man who captained the former Soviet Union side before his transfer to Glasgow and the former England under-21 captain, Chris Vinnicombe, were both thrown jerseys. They and those around them responded well and exorcised memories of last week's 3-0 defeat by Dundee United, but it is fair to say they had little opposition.

St Johnstone were appalling and Mark Hateley, Trevor Steven and Gordon Durie took full advantage of hesitancy and poor marking. Hateley, as always immense in the air, had headed beyond Saints' keeper twice after only 21 minutes had elapsed and six minutes into the second half Steven bundled the ball into the net. A powerful Durie header 12 minutes from time rounded off a stirring performance nicely.

'In our previous five matches we had been organised and had method,' the St Johnstone manager, Paul Sturrock, said. 'But we destroyed it all in 90 minutes. My players didn't have any self-belief and some of their defensive lapses were unbelievable. I'm deeply disappointed. These players have let the club down.'

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