Mandron goal not enough as St Mirren edged out by Rangers

Mandron goal not enough as St Mirren edged out by Rangers

St Mirren were edged out 2-1 by Rangers at The SMiSA Stadium in our first cinch Premiership post-split fixture.

An own goal saw the visitors take a first-half lead, but Mikael Mandron levelled the scores just five minutes later. Saints created a number of chances but were thwarted by Jack Butland in the Rangers goal before Cyriel Dessers scored the winner for Rangers in the final stages of the match.

Stephen Robinson made four changes to the side that lost at Celtic last time out. James Bolton, Ryan Strain, Conor McMenamin and Mikael Mandron came in for Richard Taylor, Elvis Bwomono, Keanu Baccus and Toyosi Olusanya.

The Buddies started brightly and could have opened the scoring inside the first minute with Mandron doing well to steal the ball off a Rangers defender and getting himself in on goal but saw his strike pushed away by Butland.

Mandron was denied by another good stop from the Rangers goalkeeper on eight minutes when his low effort from the angle was pushed away, though it appeared McMenamin was offside in the build-up.

McMenamin had Saints' next opportunity when his low effort from 20 yards deflected off John Souttar and into the arms of Butland. Rangers looked to hit the Buddies on the counter with Fabio Silva making his way into the box, but Alex Gogic did brilliantly to block the strike. Zach Hemming made a good save as he got both hands behind John Lundstram's hit from the edge of the area. The Saints goalkeeper did well three minutes later when he tipped Tavernier's curling effort over. 

After a period of Rangers pressure, it was Saints who came close to breaking the deadlock just before the half hour mark when McMenamin headed over after meeting Mandron's nod across. 

The visitors would take the lead on 32 minutes when Bolton knocked into his own net from close-range. Hemming couldn't get enough on a cross to put it out of play and Mohamed Diomande had sneaked in at the back post to head it across from Dessers who forced home. 

The Buddies drew level just five minutes later when Mandron scored his 11th goal of the season. The French striker got in ahead of Leon Balogun to meet Mark O'Hara's deep cross and headed in off the post to the delight for the 5,000+ home support.

Mikael Mandron celebrates after his goal against Rangers

Saints were agonisingly close to taking a lead into the interval only to be denied by a brilliant save from Butland who somehow got a hand out to turn Bolton's effort over.

There wasn't much to write home about in the opening stages of the second 45 with the only real opportunity coming on 64 minutes when O'Hara fired over from inside the area. Stephen Robinson decided to make his first change on 70 minutes when Toyosi Olusanya came on to replace goalscorer Mandron. 

But it was Rangers who took the lead for a second time with just over 15 minutes remaining when Cyriel Dessers met Tavernier's cross at the far post and headed home. 

Saints made two changes immediately after the goal with Lewis Jamieson and James Scott introduced in place of McMenamin and Greg Kiltie. 

Jamieson had an opportunity in the closing minutes of normal time when Saints were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal after Butland cleared the ball but took out Olusanya. The Rangers goalkeeper was booked and Jamieson stepped up to take the free-kick but sent it into the wall. 

Both sides had chances in injury with the immense Gogic making an incredible last-ditch goal-line clearance to deny Rangers a third. Olusanya was then presented an opportunity when he raced into the box down the left-side but was stopped by a big challenge from Balogun. 

Olusanya has chance to level deep in injury-time

The final chances came Saints way with Jamieson's low strike deflected by for a corner from which Bolton saw his effort cleared from the goal-line by Tavernier as the visitors held on for the points. 

Full-Time: St Mirren 1-2 Rangers

St Mirren: Hemming, Bolton, Gogic, Fraser, Strain (Brown 84), O'Hara (c), Boyd-Munce (Baccus 84), Tanser, McMenamin (Jamieson 76), Mandron (Olusanya 70), Kiltie (Scott 76)
Subs Not Used: Urminsky, Taylor, Dunne, Bwomono

Rangers: Butland, Tavernier (c), Balogun, Souttar, Barisic (Wright 77), Diomande, Lundstram, Cantwell (Lawrence 77), Silva (McCausland 56), Dessers, Sterling
Subs Not Used: McCrorie, Goldson, Dowell, Roofe, Davies, Raskin

Referee: Nick Walsh
Assistant Referee: Frank Connor
Assistant Referee: Jonathan Bell
Fourth Official: Chris Graham
VAR: Don Robertson

Attendance: 6,800

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