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withdrawn for the introduction of Maurice Edu.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.