Gers sign off with Aluko show
Last Updated: 13/05/12 2:49pm
Aluko: Hit a hat-trick
Sone Aluko claimed a hat-trick as Rangers cruised to a 4-0 win at St Johnstone in the final Scottish Premier League game of the season.
And, on the day the football came to an end for now, the Glasgow giants will be hoping for a positive new beginning off the field after administrators accepted an offer from Charles Green's consortium for the purchase of the club.
Lee McCulloch set the ball rolling at McDiarmid Park on Sunday before Aluko netted three second-half goals, with the hosts failing to find the win that would allow them to claim a Europa League spot.
Rangers made three changes from the side which drew with Motherwell last week for the clash against St Johnstone.
Kirk Broadfoot, Ross Perry and Alejandro Bedoya started, with Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian - who had a knee injury anyway - given permission to return to their respective homelands early, while Jamie Ness absent from the squad.
Saints were without the suspended Murray Davidson but were boosted by the return of Francisco Sandaza following a three-match ban as they aimed to secure a Europa League spot.
St Johnstone looked the more dangerous of the two sides early on and a Liam Craig corner found Cillian Sheridan in the box and his header forced a save from goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Chris Millar's cross then skimmed the crossbar as the home side continued to push forward for the opener.
At the other end, Alan Mannus was called into action to swat a McCulloch header to safety, before Bedoya blasted over from close range.
Rangers gradually began to impose themselves on the game and opened the scoring after 23 minutes.
Maurice Edu's flick was collected by McCulloch and he unleashed a superb right-footed volley that left Mannus with no chance.
The veteran utility man then went to ground in the area under pressure from Frazer Wright but there was no penalty from referee Bobby Madden.
Saints had the first real chance after the restart when Wright met Craig's corner only to send his header over the crossbar.
Rangers then came close when Kyle Bartley also threw himself in front of a flag-kick and bulleted a header over from close range as the visitors chased a second goal.
The honours went to Aluko instead after 56 minutes when he raced on to an Edu pass and finished low beyond the grasp of Mannus.
Rangers were celebrating again after 63 minutes when Steven Whittaker fed Bedoya and he squared into the path of Aluko to stab home his second of the day from close range.
Saints had the ball in the back of the net when Sandaza met a Millar pass at the back post and flicked home but the offside flag was already raised.
It was Rangers who netted again when Aluko collected the ball 10 yards out and lashed into the back of the net to claim his hat-trick with 72 minutes gone.
The winger was then withdrawn to rapturous applause from the travelling support five minutes later, allowing youngster Barrie McKay to make his competitive debut, with no way back for Saints.