St Johnstone 1-1 Rangers: Visitors lose further ground on Celtic after stalemate
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 28/12/16 10:27pm
Rangers lost further ground on Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership after they were held to a 1-1 draw by St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Wednesday night.
Barrie McKay had opened the scoring for the visitors after 23 minutes but a slack backpass by Rob Kiernan allowed Steven MacLean to level just five minutes later.
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The Gers had been on a four-game winning run but are now 16 points behind Celtic, who have played a game less, going into the Old Firm clash at Ibrox on New Year's Eve, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 11.30am.
The away side had the better of the early opportunities, with Josh Windass doing well to make some space for himself on the edge of the box before dragging an effort wide. Kenny Miller then forced goalkeeper Zander Clark into a good save shortly afterwards.
Rangers went close again after 17 minutes when a corner was only partially cleared by the hosts, but James Tavernier's curling effort from distance came back off the bar.
They eventually did take the lead after 23 minutes, however. McKay found Joe Garner on the edge of the box, his powerful effort was parried by Clark and McKay reacted quickest to turn inside Joe Shaughnessy and slot the ball into the net.
That lead did not last long, however, as Kiernan's short backpass allowed MacLean to nip in front of Wes Foderingham, turn the goalkeeper and roll the ball into the empty net.
St Johnstone were buoyed by the equaliser and enjoyed the lion's share of possession shortly afterwards, testing Foderingham from distance.
However, it was McKay who nearly restored Rangers' lead shortly after the half-hour mark, forcing Clark into another good save from a tight angle.
Both sides failed to create as many opportunities after the interval but Windass went close for Rangers after getting on the end of a neat flick by Garner but his effort was deflected onto the roof of the net by a St Johnstone defender.
Injury to Clint Hill then saw Rangers revert to their usual 4-3-3 shape after starting with a 3-5-2 to allow for skipper Lee Wallace's absence through injury, as Martyn Waghorn was introduced.
The striker's first attempt on the turn skidded wide, while his next in stoppage time flew wide as the Gers had to settle for a point.