STEVEN GERRARD celebrated his century of wins as Rangers manager as the champions-in-waiting beat St Johnstone 1-0 at Ibrox last night.
Ianis Hagi pounced for the winner just after half-time to ensure his boss became a Gers centurian after a scrappy affair
Gerrard only required 152 games to make it to hit 100 victories – and just six more will see him lead the Govan club to their first championship in a decade.
The Premiership pacesetters are 23 points ahead of nine-in-a-row title holders Celtic, but their win over the Perth side was not without controversy with striker Kemar Roofe involved in a 20th-minute flashpoint after a shocking lunge on Murray Davidson that saw the Saints player limp off.
Referee David Munro got a good view of the incident, but only thought it merited a yellow card.
Ironically, Roofe was starting the game in place of Alfredo Morelos who began a retrospective three-match suspension after a stamp on Hibs’ Ryan Porteous last week where match official Kevin Clancy took no action.
It was the Colombian’s second ban after a review from the SFA panel. He was sidelined for two matches after a 12th minute-clash with Dundee United’s Mark Connolly at Tannadice where Gerrard’s team won by the odd goal.
MOMENTS FROM IMPACT…Kemar Roofe goes into the challenge on Murray Davidson.
CRUNCH…Davidson writhes in agony as Roofe’s studs go into his leg.
YELLOW…referee David Munro books Roofe following his foul.
In the aftermath of the furore, assistant boss Gary McAllister insisted the whistler made the CORRECT decision.
The Ibrox No.2, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I thought the referee had a good view of the situation and, knowing the type of player that he is, I think the referee saw it as a yellow. He mis-controlled it, tried to retrieve it and the referee has seen it as a yellow.”
Davidson is now a doubt for the Betfred Cup Final against Livingston next month. Perth boss Callum Davidson is hoping the midfielder will recover after missing the club’s Scottish Cup Final success in 2015 through injury.
He said: “It’s one of those, I don’t think there was any malice in the challenge, but it doesn’t look great. TV pictures will slow it down and make it look worse than it is.
“The only thing I know is that I have lost my player from the resulting challenge.
“It’s a concern with the Cup Final coming up. I don’t know if he needs a scan, I will know more in the morning.
“It’s one of those, probably the decisions didn’t quite go for us. Little things in the game that could have helped us out.”
Gerrard named new signing Scott Wright on the bench, there was no sign of Jack Simpson following his deadline day move from Bournemouth.
The only goal arrived within seven minutes of the restart. Ryan Jack fed Hagi wide on the right and the Romanian drove across the edge of the box before firing low past the stranded Zander Clark at his left-hand post.
Davidson added: “All I can do is credit my players. They showed drive in the last 25 minutes of the game. In the first-half, I thought my boys worked really hard.
“It’s funny, you come Ibrox and sometimes your keeper is having to make save after save, but Zander didn’t have a save to make and that speaks volumes for the work-rate of my players.
“Once we went a goal down I thought the reaction was tremendous. The showed great character and we could have got something at the end.”