Borna Barisic saluted the impact of boss Michael Beale after taking holders Rangers into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup with the only goal at McDiarmid Park.
The Croatia international’s confident finish from 16 yards just before the break was his first goal in almost two years and it proved decisive.
Beale has won eight and drawn one of his nine games as Gers boss since taking over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November.
Barisic told RangersTV he was “very happy” to end his scoring drought and praised Beale’s work at Ibrox, where he was previously assistant coach to Steven Gerrard.
He said: “I am really enjoying working under the manager – he is very good for me. I like his style.
“I like his mentality and I know what he wants. Step by step, day by day, we are getting better.
“Not only on the pitch, but outside the pitch at training and we show that on the pitch.
“Of course there are always areas that you can do better, but we are only moving in a good way.”
Beale admitted that Barisic’s strike from inside the box after Fashion Sakala’s shot rebounded off a post came at a crucial time.
He told RangersTV: “I am delighted for Borna, he regularly gets assists like he did in midweek (against Kilmarnock) and obviously it is a fantastic strike.
“It was excellent play from Fashion Sakala, really direct, and the keeper makes a good save onto the post.
“It was an excellent and timely goal as well because we went in at half-time in a good place and in the second half we had a couple of big moments to increase the lead.
“If we can’t do that then we have to keep a clean sheet, that’s what the success of this team was built on in the last three or four years so it’s important we show we can keep clean sheets regularly.
“We were never really under threat, there was one moment at the end when they were throwing caution to the wind and had extra strikers on, but it wasn’t near the amount of chances that we had.
“If we can’t be ruthless at one end it is important we keep clean sheets and I thought we defended well.”
St Johnstone have now lost six in a row as they face the prospect of a trip to Ibrox in the cinch Premiership next Saturday, but boss Callum Davidson told SaintsTV: “There was a lot of positives for me, just disappointed that we are out the cup. But I can’t fault my players for effort.
“We have a tough run of fixtures at the moment, really tough but we need everyone to stick together.”
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