Saturday 16th February
Saints put in an excellence performance at a packed Ibrox this afternoon as they earned a well-deserved point against Steven Gerrard’s Rangers to end a run of five defeats.
It was a tight affair and Saints best chance of the first half saw Chris Kane, who put in an excellent shift as the lone striker, have a shot at goal which was pushed behind for a corner by Wes Foderingham. Whilst up the other end only a header from Connor Goldson tested Cammy Bell during the first half which was well held by the keeper who was in replacing the injured Zander Clark.
The second half Saints created several chances to take the lead. The best chance of the match fell to substitute Blair Alston who did well to beat Joe Worrall to the ball before seeing Foderingham off his line and the midfielder lobbed the ball over the Rangers keeper but agonisingly for Saints it crashed off the bar.
Today’s result sees Saints remain in sixth place in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership with 38 points. Next up for Saints is a home game against Aberdeen next Saturday.
Saints were back on the road today as they headed to Glasgow to take on Rangers at Ibrox. Tommy Wright made one change to the team that started last Sunday’s Scottish Cup defeat at Celtic Park as Cammy Bell came in for his first start since joining from Partick Thistle on-loan last month for the injured Zander Clark. Steven Gerrard made four changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Kilmarnock last weekend in the Scottish Cup. Out went the suspended Allan McGregor, Andy Halliday, Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack to be replaced by Wes Foderingham, Steven Davis, Glen Kamara and Borna Barisic.
Saints got the match underway and in the opening 5 minutes they forced a succession of corners. At one of them it looked like that Chris Kane’s effort had come off a hand however, the referee waved play on.
The first real chance for Rangers came after 12 minutes as Ryan Kent saw his powerful low effort deflected for a corner. Then a minute later Daniel Candeias sent his effort over after being setup by Kent from a well worked short corner.
It was a positive start to the match for Saints and on 18 minutes Chris Kane and Matty Kennedy linked up well down the left as the later broke into the Rangers box before seeing his effort deflected behind for a corner by Joe Worrall.
On 22 minutes a Borna Barisic corner from the right picked out Connor Goldson but the powerful header from the defender was well gathered by Cammy Bell. Then on 36 minutes James Tavernier cut in from the right to latch onto a loose ball before unleashing a curling effort that didn’t trouble Bell.
With 3 minutes of the first half remaining Saints hit Rangers on the counter down the left as Kennedy slip the ball to Kane and the Saints attacker broke into the Gers box before seeing his effort tipped behind for a corner by Foderingham. The corner was taken by David Wotherspoon but his delivery was well caught by Foderingham.
As the match entered 2 minutes of additional time it was Saints who would create one final chance as the ball fell to Kennedy 20 yards out but his volley went wide of Foderingham’s goal.
2 minutes after the restart it was Saints who had the first sight of goal however, the strike from Liam Craig didn’t trouble Foderingham. Then a couple of minutes later a Kane cross from the right was well gathered by the Rangers keeper as Saints pressed the hosts in the opening stages of the half.
Rangers then started to put a bit of pressure on Saints and Jason Kerr produced a great block to deny Jermain Defoe in the six-yard box on 51 minutes before play was pulled back for a foul on the young Saints defender. Then on 57 minutes the Gers threatened again as a Barisic free kick was delivered into the Saints box picking out Worrall whose first-time volley went over Bell’s bar.
A dangerous ball into the box on 66 minutes by Barisic was blocked by Joe Shaughnessy. The loose ball broke to Daniel Candeias who was in space but he put his effort high into the stand from 15 yards.
Saints were awarded a free kick on 74 minutes after Kennedy had been fouled by Ryan Kent. The free kick was taken by Craig and he delivered a perfect ball into the box for captain Joe Shaughnessy who directed his header towards goal but it was brilliantly palmed away by Foderingham.
On 77 minutes the hosts created a chance to break the deadlock as Kent setup substitute Kyle Lafferty and the Northern Irishman had a shot at goal which went wide of the target.
Then a minute later Saints came very close to taking the lead as a great ball was played through the middle to Blair Alston by David Wotherspoon. The Saints substitute darted beyond Worrall to latch onto the pass before chipping the ball over the advancing Foderingham however, his effort crashed off the crossbar and bounce before it was caught by the Gers keeper.
Barisic sent a long ball into the Saints box which was again latched on to by Lafferty on 84 minutes who turned and had a strike at goal which went inches wide of Bell’s right-hand post. Saints then saw the game out to earn a well-deserved point.
Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Defoe, Davis (Middleton 59), Kent, McCrorie (Coulibaly 76), Kamara, Candeias (Lafferty 68), Barisic
Unused Substitutes: Firth (GK), Halliday, Katić, Polster
Saints: Bell, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Davidson, Kane, Wotherspoon (Callachan 88), Kerr, Foster, Craig, Goss (Alston 71), Kennedy (Swanson 80)
Unused Substitutes: Hurst (GK), Hendry, Gordon, Keown
Referee: Steven McLean
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Blair Alston hits the crossbar with his shot
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