By George Overhill

22nd Jan, 2023 | 7:40am

BBC pundit stunned by Borna Barisic after Malik Tillman magic for Rangers at St Johnstone

Stephen Craigan was wowed by the “magic” of Rangers attacker Malik Tillman and the stunning strike from Borna Barisic at St Johnstone.

The American loanee produced a wonderful back heel late in the first half of the Scottish Cup tie at McDiarmid Park to free teammate Fashion Sakala for a burst into the area, with the Zambian firing a shot off the far post which Barisic then smashed back into the top corner for the only goal of the game.

Craigan, a frequent BBC pundit, was blown away by the whole sequence and his view was supported by Ally McCoist and Michael Stewart on a night where Rangers did just about enough to win an attritional game and get through.

Speaking live on the Viaplay match coverage commentary (21 January, 6.18pm) former Motherwell man Craigan said: “Malik Tillman, lovely little back heel. It needed a bit of magic and Tillman has absolutely delivered. He’s been quiet for spells but just look at this quality, he knows what he’s doing.

“Fashion Sakala rattles it off the post, St Johnstone switch off… Borna Barisic, absolutely emphatic finish. You said he hasn’t scored for two years but wow, what a way to end that drought.”

At half-time (6.25pm) Ally McCoist said: “It’s a beautiful flick from Tillman… but I tell you what, that is some finish… It’s a brilliant finish.”

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Michael Stewart then added: “You see Borna Barisic whipping crosses in and he’s effectively done the same thing but he’s hit it into the back of the net.”

Standout moment

It wasn’t an easy game to behold as a bobbling pitch contributed to a lack of quality for both sides, so Tillman’s moment of magic stood out and ultimately led to the decisive event.

Sakala’s role can’t be overlooked as it took fingertips from Remi Matthews to keep it from going straight in, one of a few crucial interventions from the St Johnstone keeper.

And once it came out to left-back Barisic there was plenty still to do, yet the Croatian made it look easy to direct it high back across goal and into the far corner.

Barisic chose a good time to break his lengthy goal drought, and in some style, as without that strike, as well as a late James Tavernier clearance off the line, it may have been a different outcome.

Michael Beale moves a step closer to defending the trophy that Giovanni van Bronckhorst won last season, and keeps open a fair chance of capturing both cups in his first season, having reached the League Cup final against Celtic already.

Two points dropped in the Old Firm derby remains the only blot on an otherwise 100% record for the Gers boss who will look to continue the unbeaten run a lot further with some January signings through the door.

In other Rangers news, the club are on the brink of securing their next signing of the winter window.