Goals from Connor McLaren and Joe Johnson saw Saints' Development side defeat Rangers 2-1 at Forthbank on Tuesday night.
McLaren rifled in a looping strike into the top corner from 25 yards to open the scorin in the match on 36 minutes. However, Serge Atakayi drew Rangers level three minutes from half time with a composed finish.
But Joe Johnson slid in to score a dramatic winner in the 89th minute after he got onto the end of a superb Danny Jardine pass.
The young side headed into the match looking to improve on a 1-0 loss to Falkirk, and that’s exactly what they did at Forthbank Stadium against a Rangers side four points above them in the league.
The game got off to a quiet start with Saints holding their own, but only Greg Page managing a free kick on target after 25 minutes to warm the hands of goalkeeper Wright.
But with less than 10 minutes of the first half to go, winger Connor McLaren rifled a looping strike over the mass of bodies in the Rangers box and into Wright’s top left corner from all of 25 yards.
However, Saints lead didn’t last long as a cool finish from Ranger forward Serge Atakayi levelled the scores with three minutes of the first half remaining.
The teams went in for the break at 1-1, but Saints had plenty of positives to take into the second period.
Saints started the second half with a fierce attitude, and pressed high up the pitch in hunt of another goal.
Early efforts from Greg Hurst and Paul Simpson forced Rangers into upping their game, and it was then their turn to pile pressure on the Saints’ defence, which for the first hour contained defender Tam Scobbie, who recently began training again after being sidelined through injury.
Goalkeeper Ben MacKenzie pulled off a wonder save to prevent Rudden from scoring from six yards out, diving acrobatically to his right to tip the effort behind for a corner.
Rangers continued to push, but the Saints defence wasn’t to be breached again, and after excellent work to win the ball in middle of the pitch, a mazy run from Danny Jardine concluded with the midfielder laying off substitute Joe Johnson who casually slotted the ball into the bottom corner with less than a minute to play.
The hosts had no time to look for a leveller, and the match finished 2-1 to Alec Cleland’s side, who thoroughly deserved the three points after a solid defensive performance and clinical offensive display. Full time, Rangers 1-2 St Johnstone.
Match Report by Ross Gardiner
Photos by Malcolm Mackenzie
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