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Rangers vs St. Johnstone. Scottish League Cup Group C.

Ibrox StadiumAttendance27,094.

Rangers 1

  • J Tavernier (62nd minute)

St. Johnstone 3

  • M Davidson (19th minute)
  • S Lappin (29th minute)
  • M O'Halloran (46th minute)

Rangers 1-3 St Johnstone: League Cup win for Premiership side

Michael O'Halloran celebrates his goal against Rangers
Image: Michael O'Halloran celebrates after scoring St Johnstone's third goal against Rangers in the third round tie at Ibrox

Mark Warburton suffered his first defeat as Rangers boss as St Johnstone knocked out the Championship leaders from the Scottish League Cup with a 3-1 win at Ibrox.

Murray Davidson, Simon Lappin and Michael O'Halloran put the visitors into a three-goal lead before James Tavernier scored what turned out to be a consolation for Rangers.

Warburton had won 11 consecutive games in all competitions since taking charge in the summer, but St Johnstone provided a reality check for the Rangers manager.

Saints had been beaten 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the same competition in Govan last season and had yet to win away from home this term and Rangers seemed to sense a hesitancy at the start.

However, the hosts were almost undone inside the opening five minutes when a long throw-in from Joe Shaughnessy was only half-cleared to the edge of the box where Lappin drilled a shot back towards the goalkeeper's right, but Wes Foderingham got across to turn the ball round the post.

Murray Davidson opens the scoring for St Johnston at Ibrox
Image: Murray Davidson opens the scoring after firing past Wes Foderingham

But the breakthrough came in the 18th minute when O'Halloran burst forward along the right side of the penalty area past Jason Holt and his low delivery to the near post was flicked back by Steven MacLean and Davidson scooped his shot past the 'keeper from three yards out.

O'Halloran again used his pace to cause further problems for Rangers when he found space to drive into the box to square for MacLean, but his strike partner who lifted the ball over the bar from four yards with the goal at his mercy.

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Rangers responded to that let off with a brief spell of pressure as Lee Wallace made progress on the left side of the penalty area and sent over a driven cross which was missed everyone and ran through to Gedion Zelalem who smashed the ball a foot wide of upright from 25 yards.

Kenny Miller then turned inside the Saints box and tested goalkeeper Alan Mannus who could only parry the ball before clawing it away from the onrushing Martyn Waghorn.

But Saints doubled their lead on 29 minutes when a low corner by David Wotherspoon from the left picked out the unmarked Lappin and he crashed a first-time 18-yard shot into the far corner.

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Managers Mark Warburton and Tommy Wright reflect on St Johnstone's win over Rangers in the Scottish League Cup

O'Halloran produced the killer blow a minute after the break when his pace again exposed the Rangers central defenders when he raced on to a lob from MacLean and kept his composure to shoot into the corner.

Rangers were creating little but Nathan Oduwa then produced a neat turn of pace to nip between two defenders and curl his shot from 15 yards against the top of the bar.

A similar turn of pace from Tavernier (62) at the other side of box was more fruitful as the full-back lined up his shot and drove the ball into the top corner past Mannus.

Saints looked rattled by the goal and had a narrow escape two minutes later when Tavernier again found a yard of space and clipped the ball inside to Waghorn, but he sent his header from six yards just wide of the far post.

Rangers continued to press but lacked the guile to break down the mid-table Scottish Premiership side, who were tactically superior and better organised to deal with any potential threat.

Instead it was Saints who almost grabbed another goal four minutes from time when Liam Craig whipped a cross towards the penalty spot and Graham Cummins got between the two central defenders to send a glancing header just wide of the target.

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