McGregor on hand to rescue rocky Rangers

Rangers 2 St Mirren 1
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The Independent Online

St Mirren scared the life out of Rangers yesterday with a comeback at Ibrox that might have yielded a point, but for Allan McGregor's remarkable save in the dying minutes.

The Scotland goalkeeper clawed away Dennis Wyness's 87th-minute free-kick that was poised to heap further frustration on Walter Smith's side, who had drawn two of their previous three games to stumble in their Scottish Premier League title pursuit.

When Franco Miranda conjured up a stunning 81st-minute goal to halve the lead provided by early strikes from Kris Boyd and Steve Davis, St Mirren harboured thoughts of punishing a side they had already defeated at Love Street. Rangers, though, moved within a point of the leaders Celtic, who play today at Hamilton.

Few of the 49,321 crowd would have anticipated such a tense drama when after only four minutes Boyd struck a thunderous opener. Kirk Broadfoot's 40-yard diagonal pass was headed down by Kenny Miller and Boyd thrashed in a 20-yard shot.

Miller was again the provider when Davis found the net six minutes later with an angled finish beyond Mark Howard. What followed was a case study in siege mentality. St Mirren were barely able to get out of their half for the rest of the first period. Miller, though, was fortunate not be punished for an elbow on Haining.

St Mirren ought to have been swept away seven minutes into the second half when Miller seized on a bad backpass by Miranda but shot over.

That was the turning point. Even though Miller came close again, the visitors played with more confidence and the arrival of substitutes Wyness and Craig Dargo started to stretch Rangers, as St Mirren discovered a rich vein of passing.

Wyness volleyed wide but made amends when Miranda surged down the left, feeding the Argentinian with a clever backheel before Miranda produced an unerring finish.

"That type of game often happens when you don't take your chances and we were fortunate that Allan McGregor made such a great save to keep the scoreline at 2-1," Smith said. "We have had too many games like that recently."

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