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BBC Five Live's Ian Turner
reports from McDiarmid Park
 real 14k

Ranger's manager Dick Advocaat
"I am not Houdini. I cannot replace 12 players"
 real 14k

St Johnstone manager Sandy Clark
"Not any doubt. We deserved the points"
 real 14k

Sunday, 22 October, 2000, 19:48 GMT
Saints' surprise thanks to Sylla
Keigan Parker slots home the opener for St Johnstone
Keigan Parker slots home the opener for St Johnstone
By BBC Sport Online's Clive Lindsay

St Johnstone 2-1 Rangers

Mohammed Sylla created the surprise, surprise result at McDiarmid Park as Rangers paid the price for failing to get it right in the Scottish Premier League.

The full-back recently capped by Guinea struck the winner after 67 minutes to send Rangers to their third straight defeat away from home.

It leaves the Ibrox club's manager, Dick Advocaat, with a major headache ahead of the Champions League showdown with Sturm Graz in midweek - and also now in the league, where Rangers now remain in fourth, 12 points behind Celtic.

The Scottish champions had been forced to make changes from the side that drew with Galatasaray and were without goalkeeper Stefan Klos, defender Tony Vidmar, winger Andrei Kanchelskis, plus midfielders Claudio Reyna and Jorg Albertz, who picked up an injury in training.

On the bench

There was to be no meeting either of the Lovenkrands brothers from the start, Tommy starting as a substitute for St Johnstone, while Peter also dropped on to the bench for Rangers.

Polish international Darius Adamczuk made his first start in a year in a five-man Rangers midfield, with a three-man defence of Bert Konterman, Sergio Porrini and Lorenzo Amoruso.

It also meant that Kenny Miller made his first league start for Rangers, alongside Billy Dodds, with Ronald de Boer just behind the front two.

Despite their changes, Rangers started brightly and Amoruso and Barry Ferguson sent in powerful, long-range efforts that flew yards over.

Causing problems

Sylla was causing problems down the right and a neat flick left Neil McCann for dead, but Nick Dasovic just failed to connect with his dangerous cross into the six yard box.

St Johnstone, who themselves had 14 of their 28 senior players out through injury, started to ease themselves into the game and they took the lead after 18 minutes.

Keigan Parker took on Porrini for pace inside the box and, when the 18-year-old striker fell to the ground with his shirt being pulled, referee Alan Freeland pointed to the spot.

Parker took the penalty himself and sent teenage goalkeeper Mark Brown the wrong way from the spot.

Strong point

With de Boer failing to impose himself, it was left to Ferguson to probe for the openings from midfield, but finishing is not the young Scot's strong point and, after creating space for himself with a clever jink, his attempted chip went straight into the arms of goalkeeper Alan Main.

Barry Ferguson congratulates Kenny Miller on his equaliser
Barry Ferguson congratulates Kenny Miller on his equaliser
Konterman then found Miller inside the box, but the 2m signing from Hibernian was stretching too much and poked his volley over.

However, Saints were still causing problems and a through ball from Sean Evers, the midfielder on loan from Reading, sent Paddy Connolly clear, but Brown did well to smother the striker's shot.

Rangers came out with more purpose after the break and a McCann flick found Miller eight yards out, but Main did superbly to palm the striker's volley clear.

Threatening

Almost immediately, McCann's through ball sent Dodds clear inside the box, but Main was on hand again to block the striker's drive.

However, the writing was on the wall and, after 55 minutes, Rangers got the equaliser they had been threatening.

Miller tried to send Adamczuk clear, but when the ball bounced back into the striker's path off defender Darren Dods, he sent a powerful low drive into the near corner of the net from 30 yards.

That should have inspired Rangers, but they appeared to relax and central defender Alan Kernaghan stole into the box, turned past Amoruso, and Brown did well to hold the shot from six yards.

Warning

Rangers did not heed that warning and St Johnstone regained the lead after 67 minutes.

Sylla picked the ball up inside the centre circle, turned away from Ferguson and was allowed to run at the heart of the Rangers defence before firing in a 20-yard drive that left Brown floundering.

Rangers had to attack and sent on Lovenkrands and Rod Wallace for Adamczuk and Dodds with 20 minutes remaining.

St Johnstone replaced Connolly with their Lovenkrands and it was brother Tommy who was the happier side of the family by the final whistle, a clever chip from de Boer that drifted just over being the closest Rangers came to saving the day.


St Johnstone: Main, Dods, Weir, Kernaghan, Sylla, Dasovic, Kane, Evers, Bollan, Connolly, Parker.

Subs: Cuthbert, Lovenkrands, Hartley, McBride, Forsyth.

Rangers: Brown, Amoruso, Konterman, Porrini, Adamczuk, Ferguson, de Boer, Tugay, McCann, Dodds, Miller.

Subs: Smith, Wallace, Willoughby, Lovenkrands, Ross.

Referee: A Freeland.

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21 Oct 00 |  Scot Prem
Celtic survive late United scare
21 Oct 00 |  Scot Prem
Killie come back for victory
21 Oct 00 |  Scot Prem
Dons and Pars finish goalless
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