As they were held to a 2-2 draw by St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park Rangers slipped up on the road. Callum Hendry put the home side ahead before Florian Kamberi scored to level things up not long after coming off the bench. Joe Aribo gave the visitors the lead for Stevie May to then equalise for Saints. Rangers pushed forward again, looking for a winner but failed to trouble Zander Clark in the home goal in the closing stages. Here are three things we heard in Perth from the match:
TITLE RACE OVER?
If it was not over already, Rangers’ championship challenge has surely crumbled now. Entering that stage of the season this is a game Steven Gerrard’s side simply had to win. They seemed to have the result within their grasp as they forged ahead with only 20 minutes of the contest remaining but could only watch as the Saints equalized. Celtic are now a full 12 points ahead of their Glasgow rivals, albeit with Rangers having a game in hand. Nevertheless, with only 11 league matches left, time is running out if Rangers want to stop Celtic from making it nine titles in a row. This week’s Europa League and Scottish Cup ties now take on extra significance for the Ibrox side. It will be worth taking bookies up on the latest betting sign up offers as Gerrard has to focus on these competitions now.
Rangers at least stopped a run that had seen them lose their last two away games in the league, but this draw would have felt like a loss too. The Ibrox side failed to adapt and deal with the environment, even with their own fans packed into three sides of the stadium. Having the capability to grind out victories when up against it on the road used to be one of Rangers’ most admirable characteristics but they’ve lost their way on that front since the winter break. Their remaining two away league matches before the split should be winnable against Ross County and St. Mirren, however they will not approach these games with overflowing confidence. If you think there could be an upset, you should sign up today and place your bet.
Might there be a case for Florian Kamberi? With Alfredo Morelos suspended for the second leg of the Europa League tie, Gerrard needs an alternative in attack. Jermain Defoe is thought to be close to returning from the injury that has kept him out for the best part of a month and Rangers might be able to call on him. In his continued absence, however, it was Kamberi who made the difference, coming off the bench to equalize and then set up Aribo for Rangers’ second goal. Rangers probably need to score at least once if they are to progress to the last-16 of the Europa League, and with Defoe still doubtful for this match and Greg Stewart very much on the periphery, it seems as if Kamberi might be Gerrard’s best bet against the Portuguese side.