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Rangers manager Mark Warburton suffers first loss in job against St Johnstone

By Ronnie Esplin

Mark Warburton was handed his first defeat as Rangers boss as St Johnstone dismissed the Championship leaders from the Scottish League Cup with a 3-1 win at Ibrox.

The third-round encounter was deemed to be the biggest test of the season for the Englishman, whose team had won 11 consecutive games in all competitions since he took over in the summer.

His rival boss Tommy Wright was delighted afterwards. He said: "Michael O'Halloran has real pace. We knew Rangers would have lots of the ball and he is a good outlet for us.

"We played some good stuff as well. If the media don't give us praise, so what? Rangers had a right go even at 3-0. We defended well against a very good side."

St Johnstone took the lead in the 18th minute when the lively Michael O'Halloran's cross from the right was cleverly flicked on by Steven MacLean to Murray Davidson, who knocked the ball in from three yards for his first goal of the season.

Gers should have been further behind three minutes later when O'Halloran drove into the box and set up MacLean for an easy tap-in, only for the former Rangers striker to balloon over.

Their defensive fragility proved costly again just before the half-hour mark.

David Wotherspoon's corner from the left found the unmarked Simon Lappin at the edge of the box and he smashed a wonderfully-executed left-foot drive past Wes Foderingham.

The supporters had barely taken their seats for the start of the second-half when O'Halloran raced through the centre of the Gers defence, past Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan, to poke a MacLean ball home.

Gers fought back as Nathan Oduwa clipped the bar in the 55th minute before James Tavernier weaved his way into the Saints box to fire the ball high into the net to send a surge of energy through the Rangers players and fans, but it proved to be a consolation in the end.

Belfast Telegraph


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