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Pressure on Van Bronckhorst grows as Rangers draw 1-1 at St Mirren

Rangers dropped points for the third time in five Premiership games.

Pressure on Giovanni van Bronckhorst grows as Rangers draw 1-1 at St Mirren SNS Group

Giovanni van Bronckhorst found himself again with his Rangers future in sharp focus after a 1-1 draw with St Mirren saw more dropped points in the cinch Premiership title race.

The 1-0 midweek home win over Hearts appeared to give the under-fire Rangers boss some respite but it was back to square one in Paisley.

Returning Saints striker Jonah Ayunga drove the home side into the lead two minutes after the restart before Rangers skipper James Tavernier levelled with a penalty with six minutes of normal time remaining, after referee Kevin Clancy had originally booked Ryan Kent for diving before a VAR check.

Treatment for injury to Rangers defender Leon King explained much of the nine minutes added on but the visitors could not find a winner and they find themselves six points behind Celtic who play Ross County later in the day.

Top-flight football in Scotland takes a break for the World Cup and who knows what will happen in the Ibrox boardroom during that period but the Dutchman appears to be on borrowed time.

Van Bronckhorst had to contend with more injury problems for the lunchtime kick-off.

With top scorer Antonio Colak out with a muscle problem, Alfredo Morelos made his first league start this season.

Midfielder Glen Kamara replaced the injured Ben Davies with James Sands moving back to central defence, while Scott Wright was in for Rabbi Matondo.

For St Mirren, Ayunga replaced Alex Greive and he paired up with Curtis Main to give the Rangers centre-back pairing of Sands and 18-year-old King a physical test.

And after a lone piper played a tribute for Remembrance Day before kick-off, it became evident that battle would be key to the outcome.

However, it was Rangers who created the first clear-cut chance in the seventh minute.

Midfielder Malik Tillman slipped the ball between the legs of Saints defender Marcus Fraser but with only keeper Trevor Carson to beat, he dragged his shot wide of the target.

Then Carson blocked Wright’s close-range header at the back post from a Borna Barisic cross.

Wright drove wide after a swift counter-attack and as Saints responded, Greg Kiltie’s delivery across the face of the Light Blues’ box found no takers before Buddies defender Declan Gallagher headed a corner wide.

Scott Arfield replaced Kamara for the second half which began, somewhat bizarrely, with Morelos being immediately booked by referee Clancy for barging into Charles Dunne.

Stephen Robinson’s battling side then took the lead.

Following a long Gallagher throw-in and a flick-on by Main, keeper Allan McGregor parried Ayunga’s first effort from close range but as King hesitated, the St Mirren attacker fired into the net.

Suddenly Rangers and their travelling fans were gripped by anxiety.

There was more trouble for Rangers when King, after a long period of treatment for concussion after a clash with Main, was taken from the field on a stretcher and replaced by Ryan Jack, with John Lundstram moving back to central defence.

The Govan side fought back but now the attacks were underpinned by desperation.

As play stretched, Ayunga came close with a long-range effort before Kent was booked by referee Clancy for diving inside the box after a challenge by Fraser.

However, after a VAR check, a penalty was awarded and the yellow rescinded with Tavernier slamming the ball past Carson to level.

There were nine minutes added on at the end during which Carson saved a drive from Kent and a header from Jack before again Rangers ran out of time, with their title hopes further damaged.