Nine-man Gers slump to defeat

Lee McCulloch and Dorin Goian both saw red, ruling them out of
Wednesday’s clash at Celtic Park, as Saints secured their first win
over Rangers since 2008. Lee Wallace opened the scoring with his
maiden goal for the Scottish champions but the home side took
advantage of McCulloch’s first-half dismissal and hit back through
goals from Aaron Mooy and Paul McGowan to secure the win before
Rangers lost Goian late on to a second booking. Rangers made three
changes from the 2-1 win over Inverness for the match. Kyle
Lafferty, who came off the bench to score the winner last week,
started, along with McCulloch and Goian, who recovered from
illness. Sone Aluko had to settle for a place on the bench after
serving a two-match ban for diving. Saints drafted fit-again Lee
Mair into the side and Mooy also started for the home side, while
skipper Jim Goodwin began the first of a three-game suspension.
Rangers tried to pile on the pressure straight away and Gregg Wylde
had a go after cutting inside from the left but he fired across
goal and wide with Lafferty screaming for the ball a few yards out.
The Northern Irishman then had a chance of his own when he raced
onto a Steven Davis pass only to drag his effort past the post from
just inside the box. At the other end, a low shot from McGowan was
smothered by goalkeeper Allan McGregor, before Rangers opened the
scoring with 11 minutes gone. Sasa Papac was the provider with a
lovely pass for Wallace who forced his way past Marc McAusland
before rifling past Craig Samson to claim his first goal for the
club. The visitors had the ball in the net again when Wylde’s
swerving free-kick slipped past Samson but the effort was ruled out
for an offside. Rangers suffered a setback when McCulloch was shown
a straight red card after 24 minutes for violent conduct after
clashing with Graham Carey, who was booked by referee Steven McLean
earlier in the game for a foul on McCulloch. Manager Ally McCoist
made his first change of the game five minutes later when Wylde was
withdrawn for the introduction of Maurice Edu. Saints, boosted by
the numerical advantage, almost levelled when Kenny McLean
delivered a low corner to Steven Thompson at the near post and his
flick forced a decent save from McGregor. But the Rangers
goalkeeper was left plucking the ball out of the back of the net a
minute before the break when Mooy lashed home in off the inside of
the post, before McGowan met a David van Zanten pass and claimed
Saints’ second of the day in injury time. Saints swapped Carey for
Gary Teale at half-time, while Lafferty made way for Aluko as
Rangers made their second substitution. Aluko almost had a swift
impact on the game five minutes after the restart with a
well-struck shot but he was off-target and the effort rippled the
side-netting. Saints could have added to their lead when Teale’s
free-kick found McAusland at the back post but he stabbed inches
wide, squandering a decent opportunity. Rangers then almost
levelled through Nikica Jelavic but the club’s top goalscorer drove
past the upright without causing any real problems for the Saints
goalkeeper. With just over an hour gone, Hugh Murray came off the
bench to make his first appearance of the season after recovering
from knee surgery, as he replaced goalscorer Mooy. Rangers pushed
forward in search of the goal that could spark a comeback, and
Aluko was causing some problems down the flank, but Saints defended
resolutely. Rangers’ hopes were then all but dashed when they were
reduced to nine men when Goian – booked earlier for a tug on
Teale’s jersey – was cautioned again with three minutes to go for a
foul on McLean. Papac came to the rescue to prevent Rangers falling
further behind when he cleared a McGowan effort off the line in
injury time in what was a miserable day for McCoist’s men.