Rangers suffered another post-international break slump when they were held to a goalless draw by St Johnstone in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Ibrox.
Neither side were able to find the back of the net, with the stalemate allowing Celtic to close the gap on the SPL leaders to 10 points following their win in Inverness earlier in the day.
Ally McCoist’s men were therefore forced to share the points with St Johnstone in front of a frustrated home crowd upon their return to league business following the last international break.
Rangers made three changes from their last outing against Dundee United.
Kirk Broadfoot, Alejandro Bedoya and Kyle Lafferty all started at Ibrox, with Sasa Papac, Lee Wallace and Kyle Bartley all sidelined through injury.
Bedoya’s inclusion meant all three of Rangers’ Americans were on the pitch at the start of a Thanksgiving themed day, with Carlos Bocanegra and Maurice Edu also in the side.
United States skipper Bocanegra was also presented with a commemorative gift by Rangers before kick-off for earning his 100th cap for his country earlier this week.
For new Saints boss Steve Lomas, the visit to Glasgow provided the opportunity to start his new job on a high as he took charge of team affairs for the first time after replacing Derek McInnes at the helm.
Rangers had the first real chance of the game when Broadfoot whipped a cross into the box for Nikica Jelavic and he connected with a diving header that fell just past the post.
Steven Davis then teed up Jelavic with a cut-back in front of goal but this time the Croatian striker was denied by a timely block from Frazer Wright to keep the scoreline level.
Saints striker Francisco Sandaza was fortunate to avoid picking up the first booking of the game for a late challenge on goalkeeper Allan McGregor but escaped punishment from referee Euan Norris.
Rangers looked the more likely of the two teams to find the back of the net and pushed forward in search of the opener with half-time approaching.
Steven Whittaker burst down the right flank before trying to pick out Lafferty but goalkeeper Peter Enckelman was able to gather at the near post before the forward could connect.
St Johnstone started the second half well and one-time Rangers target Murray Davidson saw his effort flash just past the upright a couple of minutes after the restart.
Davidson was threatening again when he threw himself in front of a Chris Millar cut-back only to see his header touched just over the crossbar by a full-stretch McGregor.
Rangers had the chance to pile on the pressure when Lafferty won a free-kick 25 yards out. He squeezed a low effort through the Saints defence before Bedoya tried to force over the line but Enckelman managed to smother.
Rangers had another chance when Bedoya met Broadfoot’s cross with a firm header but Enckelman was again up to the task and blocked well.
Time was fast running out to find the winner and the home side squandered another opportunity when substitute John Fleck’s corner was nodded tamely over by Bocanegra.
In the end, neither side could find the cutting edge to claim maximum points, although Lomas would no doubt be the happier of the two managers with a decent start to his tenure at the Perth club.
Rangers McGregor, Whittaker, Goian, Bocanegra, Broadfoot, Bedoya (Hemmings 76), Davis, Edu, McKay (Fleck 64), Lafferty, Jelavic.
Subs Not Used: Alexander, McCulloch, Juanma Ortiz, Kerkar, Perry.
Booked: Goian, Broadfoot.
St Johnstone Enckelman, MacKay, Wright, Anderson, Callum Davidson, Millar, Moon, Morris (Finnigan 76), Craig, Murray Davidson, Sandaza (Haber 79).
Subs Not Used: Mannus, Maybury, Durnan, May, McIntosh.
Booked: Morris, Anderson, Finnigan.
Att: 45, 279
Ref: Euan Norris (Scotland).