Rangers crumble to win at St Johnstone as pressure mounts on Van Bronckhorst | Scottish Premiership

Pressure has piled on Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst after a shock 2-1 loss to St Johnstone left them seven points behind Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Rangers dominated the first half at McDiarmid Park but found themselves in the 41st minute, when 24-year-old winger James Brown thundered in a stunning drive from 25 yards for his first senior goal.

Former Rangers striker Nicky Clark grabbed a second in the 62nd minute, and as James Tavernier pulled one back in the 73rd minute the visitors couldn’t find an equaliser. Seething fans expressed their frustration at the final whistle after Rangers’ first defeat at Perth for 12 years.

There had seemed little prospect of an upset despite an ongoing injury crisis at Ibrox. Van Bronckhorst was happy to welcome centre-back Ben Davies following a groin complaint while midfielder John Lundstram was back after a one-game ban.

Saints manager Callum Davidson has revealed an illness bug has affected his players, with captain Liam Gordon missing. Elliott Parish has taken over for injured Remi Matthews with Ross Sinclair on the bench after being recalled from his loan spell at Montrose.

Rangers started the game strong and in the sixth minute Parish had to save Malik Tillman’s effort from a tight angle following Tavernier’s cross. Parish then dove low to his left to push a decent drive from Lundstram around the post for a corner. In the 11th minute, Antonio Colak was sent on goal by Tillman, but veteran defender Andrew Considine made sure the Croatian striker didn’t get a shot on goal.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst looks on at McDiarmid Park. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA

As St Johnstone’s goal siege continued, Rangers winger Fashion Sakala leaped over defender Adam Montgomery to head a Borna Barisic corner onto the crossbar. As half-time approached, the home side took the lead after a mix-up between Lundstram and Sakala gave away the ball.

Stevie May’s shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Brown, who thundered past Allan McGregor for a historic goal. It was the third successive league game in which Rangers had conceded first, and the hosts doubled their lead just after the hour mark after Alfredo Morelos and Scott Arfield came on for Rangers.

May beat 18-year-old defender Leon King on the touchline and crossed for Clark, who moved past Barisic at the near post to flick the ball past McGregor. The traveling fans behind goal immediately turned their anger on van Bronckhorst, as Lundstram sent a left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area outside the post.

Tavernier put Rangers back in the game with a shot from the edge of the box after Considine headed in a corner. The visitors put on the pressure, Lundstram hitting the bar from 25 yards out before Parish saved a late Tavernier header. Rangers kept pushing but ran out of time – as did, perhaps, Van Bronckhorst.

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