A late Liam Craig penalty earned a commendable draw for St Johnstone for their tireless display making life difficult for the champions after Scott Wright's opener.
St Johnstone had an earlier penalty awarded, then overturned by referee Euan Anderson but an injury-time decision against Jack Simpson levelled the scores in Perth.
Simpson was one of seven changes for Rangers manager Steven Gerrard who also included James Tavernier in the starting line-up and was able to include Calvin Basey and Nathan Patterson with their suspension appeal yet to be concluded.
It took a while to get going despite St Johnstone applying early pressure to Jon McLaughlin’s goal but it was scoreless at the break. A neat finish from Scott Wright opened the scoring and seemed to have given the visitors the points until Saints last push for an equaliser saw Shaun Rooney toppled by Simpson and Liam Craig converted from the spot
Here is how the team rated in Perth this evening...
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1. Jon McLaughlin - 6
Ironed out the early communication issues with his defence and rarely troubled in the second half. Dealt with early pressure in the game from home side and showed safe hands without any difficulties.
Photo: Adam Nurkiewicz - SNS Group
2. James Tavernier - 6
Captain returned for hour-long shift. Solid defensively but avoided too much over-exertion in attack and eased himself back into first-team action.
Photo: Alan Harvey - SNS Group
3. Borna Barisic - 6
Left-back escaped conceding a second half penalty and was not as far forward as he usually is. Deliveries equally off-key.
Photo: SNS Group
4. Jack Simpson - 6
First start for defender and some shaky moments in the first half as he bedded in but settled well and showed his potential as an option for Steven Gerrard. Fortunate not to concede a penalty for handball then did for late challenge on Rooney.
Photo: Ian MacNicol