In Focus: St Johnstone have ability to give Rangers a real test on Friday

As reported by The Daily Record, Pedro Caixinha has found himself in a new war of words before a big match-up with St Johnstone veteran Steven MacLean hitting back at recent comments from the Rangers boss.

What’s the story?

Caixinha hasn’t exactly been shy in the media since arriving to take charge of Rangers, previously being outspoken and trading verbal blows with the likes of Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

His latest target was St Johnstone, comparing the top-flight side to Scottish Championship side with Greenock Morton, hardly the greatest of compliments.

A Saints veteran, Steven MacLean, has hit back though and suggested Caixinha keeps his own house in order.

As quoted by The Daily Record, the striker said:

I did have a little chuckle when I read his comments. It is more of Pedro’s mind games. There are similarities between St Johnstone and Morton as we both play in blue and white. I don’t know where he is coming from. Maybe he is trying to wind us up. He’s doing a good job of it….we are all petrified! I think he should worry about stopping leaks coming out his dressing room. He is trying to wind us up but we are a bit long in the tooth for that. We will take care of our own business and he can keep doing what he wants.

It adds a bit of spice before tomorrow night’s fixture between the two sides at McDiarmid Park, although that one was already shaping up to be a cracker between two sides equal on points in the Scottish Premiership.

Tough test

St Johnstone don’t have the best league record against the Light Blues, having just one top-flight encounter against them in 17 years. However, in recent seasons they’ve emerged as one of the best sides in the country, finishing in the top four for three years straight.

Last season they competed well with Rangers, drawing the opening two encounters and narrowly losing the latter two across four matches.

Caixinha should be weary of Steven MacLean too, the forward netted against Rangers last season, equalising and gaining a point for his side at McDiarmid Park.

Friday night’s fixture will be one of their toughest tests of the season so far and Rangers supporters will be hoping Caixinha’s words don’t come back to bite him, having given the home side extra motivation ahead of kick-off.