THE ‘Beast from the East’ couldn’t keep Rangers in cold storage. Instead, it is minus six in the Premiership after Graeme Murty’s side put a little bit of heat on their rivals from the East End.

As matches across the country fell victim to plummeting temperatures and heavy snow, the Light Blues’ trip to McDiarmid Park beat the big freeze.

And Rangers made the most of the reprieve from Mother Nature as they moved to within half a dozen points of Celtic at the top of the table with a 4-1 win over St Johnstone.

Read more: Rangers sweating on the fitness of winger Jamie Murphy after win over St Johnstone

Boss Graeme Murty has been reluctant to make any public proclamation about what his side can achieve in the coming weeks but supporters have dared to dream as they target a late shot at the silverware.

Victory in Perth was Rangers’ eighth in their last nine matches. It is the kind of run that potential champions must put together and then expand on, but only time will tell if it gives them a chance of upsetting the odds and overcoming their Old Firm foes.

The question that Rangers posed with their win against Hearts on Saturday was answered in emphatic style by Celtic at Pittodrie. Now, they must respond once again when they face Dundee at Parkhead in the final league match before the third derby clash of the season.

In all likelihood, it is the battle for second that is likely to be Rangers’ main focus in what is left of this term and this impressive triumph was another important step forward in that regard. If their recent performance levels and results can be maintained, that should be the least Rangers are able to salvage from another rollercoaster campaign at Ibrox.

Tommy Wright’s side may have been far from their best in recent times but they have shown how good they can be on their day against both sides of the Old Firm after taking four points from their last two trips to Glasgow.

But they never looked like repeating the trick on home soil as Rangers cruised to a victory that was as comfortable as it was deserved.

As the wins are racked up, confidence in the side clearly grows, and so does the faith that supporters have in the manager and a team that are markedly improved from just a few months ago.

It took the Gers just eleven minutes to make the breakthrough at McDiarmid Park and they never looked back from there.

Sean Goss picked out Alfredo Morelos with a terrific pass over the top of the Saints defence and the striker poked the ball away from the onrushing Alan Mannus. The keeper may have missed the ball but he got plenty of Morelos and referee Steven McLean rightly pointed to the spot.

Read more: Rangers sweating on the fitness of winger Jamie Murphy after win over St Johnstone

Mannus escaped with only a booking to his name but further damage was inflicted on Wright’s side as James Tavernier slotted home from 12 yards.

It was just the start that Murty would have wanted. Rangers were assured in possession and looked confident every time they ventured forward.

Greg Docherty had produced his finest performance in a blue jersey at the weekend and he gave the travelling support another glimpse of what he is capable of to set Josh Windass free for the second goal.

From the edge of the area, he exchanged quick passes with Daniel Candeias and then slid the ball through the Saints defence. Windass timed his run perfectly and swept a shot beyond Mannus to net for the 16th time this term.

The advantage was deserved for Rangers at this stage and the win was now within their grasps. They could take nothing for granted, though.

Wes Foderingham made a smart stop to deny George Williams, while Steven Anderson fired over after a fumble from the Ibrox keeper. A brief spell of pressure would have encouraged the home crowd but Rangers weren’t knocked out of their stride.

It was they, and not the Saints, that were marching on. Before the break, they had their third goal and the three points.

Read more: Rangers sweating on the fitness of winger Jamie Murphy after win over St Johnstone

Jamie Murphy caused panic in the Perth ranks as he burst forward and Murray Davidson picked up a yellow card as he fouled the winger on the edge of the area.

It was perfectly positioned for Goss to have a crack. And he did so in some style, curling the ball into the corner of the net as Mannus was left helpless.

St Johnstone were lucky that their uphill task didn’t become mission impossible as Chris Kane escaped a red card for a kick at David Bates just before the whistle.

But the reprieve didn’t count for much for Wright’s side and Alfredo Morelos made it 4-0 ten minutes after the restart. Tavernier got the assist this time and the striker’s header was neat as he diverted the ball into the net at the near post.

That was that as far as the outcome was concerned but there was at least a goal to give the Perth punters something to cheer as Jason Kerr headed home a Liam Craig corner. On a night where Rangers were so in control, it was a soft way to give up a clean sheet.

The closing stages were about game management for Murty’s side. Having introduced Jason Cummings to give him a much-needed run-out, Bruno Alves made his return from injury as Murphy hobbled off with 12 minutes remaining.

It wasn’t a perfect night for Rangers, but it was more than pleasing for Murty, who can now watch the action unfold on Wednesday evening knowing that his side had done their job in emphatic fashion.