Boyd and Miller comebacks not enough for Rangers

Boyd and Miller comebacks not enough for Rangers

St Mirren 0 Rangers 0

Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller both made their comebacks for Rangers but could not prevent their Active Nation Scottish Cup tie against St Mirren being forced to a replay.

The strike duo were both back from injury and thrown into the fifth-round tie in the second half in a bid to see the holders take another step towards retaining the trophy.

But neither side – who meet again in next month’s Co-operative Insurance Cup final – could find the back of the net with the tie now set to be decided at Ibrox when the two clubs do battle again on Wednesday week.

Walter Smith made four changes from the midweek win over St Johnstone, with Madjid Bougherra making his first appearance since the end of December after returning from international duty at the African Nations Cup and replacing the suspended David Weir.

Steven Naismith, Kirk Broadfoot and goalkeeper Allan McGregor also started, with Neil Alexander and Nacho Novo on the bench and John Fleck missing from the squad.

St Mirren were unchanged and started with strike duo Michael Higdon and Billy Mehmet – the latter having scored the goal against Hearts which saw the Paisley club seal a place in the League Cup final.

The previous two meetings between the clubs this season had seen Rangers take the lead in the opening two minutes.

But there was to be no such luck this time for Lee McCulloch who connected with Bougherra’s cross only to glance his header over as the holders carved out the first chance of the game.

At the other end, an Andy Dorman corner broke for Steven Thomson who picked out Higdon at the back post but his header was blocked by an alert McGregor.

Saints were under pressure when Kevin Thomson embarked on a surging run before spraying the ball out to Steven Davis. He whipped into the path of Kyle Lafferty in the goalmouth but John Potter was able to intercept and allow goalkeeper Paul Gallacher to smother.

The home side had a decent chance when Dorman found Higdon and he unleashed from the edge of the box only for McGregor to gather comfortably.

Then it was the turn of Gallacher to come to the rescue, pushing a header from Davis to safety after he had been set up by a great ball from the right from Broadfoot.

Rangers could have been ahead after the restart when Bougherra burst through the middle before lofting into the path of Naismith but Gallacher raced off his line to clear before the striker could unleash the shot.

The defender then came to the rescue twice in quick succession for Rangers. A Mehmet cross from the right found Higdon and his close-range header was hooked to safety by Bougherra.

He then cleared off the line when Higdon managed to lob McGregor after the Saints man was again set up by his strike partner for the best chance of the game so far.

Rangers clearly felt drastic action was needed to break down their stubborn hosts and Boyd and Miller were both thrown into the action with just over an hour gone.

As both sides desperately searched for the winner, Steven Whittaker went to ground under pressure from Potter but there appeared to be little in the incident and no penalty was forthcoming despite the howls of fury from the Rangers fans.

Craig Dargo was then introduced for Saints and immediately forced McGregor into action to block at the near post, before the goalkeeper touched a Hugh Murray shot over the crossbar at full stretch.

McGregor was called into action again to block a stinging effort from Mehmet but the offside flag was raised anyway as the game ended without any goals.

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