RANGERS were denied victory in Perth as Stevie May grabbed an equaliser for St Johnstone with 10 minutes of this afternoon’s Scottish Premiership clash remaining.
The Light Blues were trailing at the break to Callum Hendry’s opener – but half-time sub Florian Kamberi with a goal and an assist for Joe Aribo looked to have been sending the three points back to Ibrox before May leveled late-on.
From the side which incredibly came back from 2-0 down with 23 minutes left to defeat Braga 3-2 in the Europa League on Thursday night, boss Steven Gerrard named three changes.
Out went Borna Barisic, Glen Kamara and Steven Davis, with their places in the XI taken by Andy Halliday, Ryan Jack and midweek goal hero Joe Aribo.
Gers almost got off to the perfect start inside two minutes, with Nikola Katic taking a Scott Arfield ball on his chest inside the area before shooting into the side-netting, while at the other end Allan McGregor made a smart stop from Callum Hendry drive.
On eight minutes, however, Gers fell behind. Stevie May’s flick put Hendry in-behind the visiting defence before he slid the ball underneath the oncoming McGregor.
Matt Butcher brought out another decent save from McGregor as Saints looked for a second, while Ryan Kent forced Zander Clark into a near-post stop at the other end, and the Saints ‘keeper then had to tip a zipping Ryan Jack strike from 25-yards over the bar.
Jamie McCart then scooped an effort over the bar from 15-yards out as Saints got the better of Gers at a set-piece, while Scott Arfield, under pressure from McCart, poked an effort into the arms of Clark following good work from Joe Aribo to slip him in.
It was such an open game, and Gers latest opportunity fell to Ianis Hagi – he shot wide following good Ryan Kent work on the left, before McCart cleared a James Tavernier effort off the line when a Kent ball reached him at the back post.
Half-time saw boss Gerrard replace Andy Halliday with Flo Kamberi, and he almost had an immediate impact with a neat lay-off for Arfield, though he blasted his effort into the stand from the edge of the box.
And the impact Gerrard was looking for from the Albanian striker arrived on 50 minutes with a stunning equaliser.
James Tavernier’s cross from the right reached him, 16-yards out at the back post. Kamberi had so much to do given the height of the ball – but he caught it so sweetly with a full volley into the top corner to bring his side level.
It proved to be the spark of inspiration Gers were looking for, and Tavernier ought to have put his side ahead two minutes later, shooting over from close range at the back post when Kent picked him out with an excellent cross.
Morelos was then denied by Clark as Kamberi slipped him in, while the goalkeeper did well to read a deflected Arfield effort.
Saints first opportunity of the second half came on 66 minutes, with McGregor saving an Anthony Ralston effort with his foot.
Clark denied Kamberi with a curling effort as again Kent was the provider before on 71 minutes, Gers hit the front – with Kamberi involved yet again.
Down the left, he left Jason Kerr on his backside with some superb skill, drove into the area and slid it across for the incoming Joe Aribo, who simply couldn’t miss from three-yards out.
It was just superb from Kamberi – and the goal was a rich reward for an excellent second-half show from Gers.
It could have been three as Morelos shot over from a tight angle when Tavernier put him in down the right, but Gers were pegged-back again on 80 minutes.
David Wotherspoon’s corner was met by Stevie May at the front post, and he tapped home to level the score at 2-2.
Kamberi had the ball in the net again in injury-time, but it was ruled out for handball – and that proved to be the last goalmouth action with Saints holding out for the point.
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Halliday; Jack, Arfield, Aribo (Kamberi,; Hagi (Stewart, 78), Kent, Morelos (Davis, 76).
SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, Edmundson, Ojo, Barker.
ST JOHNSTONE: Clark, McCart, Wright, Wotherspoon, May (Craig, 86) Kerr (O’Halloran, 75), Butcher, McCann, Ralston, Hendry (Kane, 65), Booth.
SUBS NOT USED: Parish, Tanser, Swanson, Gordon.
REFEREE: Willie Collum