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St Johnstone impress to earn draw at 10-man Galatasaray

Celtic v St Johnstone – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

St Johnstone briefly led against 10-man Galatasaray before securing a 1-1 Europa League draw in Istanbul.

Saints skipper Jason Kerr silenced the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium by netting a 58th-minute penalty after the home goalkeeper had been sent off.

But the lead only lasted two minutes before Sacha Boey capitalised on a defensive misjudgement to level.

Saints could not really make the most of their man advantage but Stevie May had a shot cleared off the line and Callum Davidson’s side set up a huge night in Perth next Thursday, with a place in the play-offs up for grabs.

Scotland’s double cup winners survived an early onslaught at the stadium which is named after Galatasaray’s manager but belongs to one of their Istanbul rivals, Basaksehir, with their own home under renovation.

Mostafa Mohamed missed a sitter three minutes in when he volleyed over from six yards and Kerem Akturkoglu hit the post from 15 yards five minutes later.

Zander Clark made an excellent stop from the follow-up but the flag was raised, however the Saints goalkeeper was soon back in action to stop a header from Brazilian defender Marcao.

Saints settled and Murray Davidson and David Wotherspoon had efforts saved, with the latter having a particularly good chance only to shoot straight at the goalkeeper.

The hosts also started the second half strongly and Berkan Kutlu sent a free header over the bar from eight yards.

Saints were handed a gift when a poor back-pass put home ‘keeper Fernando Muslera in trouble.

The Galatasaray skipper made an inexplicable decision to kneel down under pressure from Chris Kane and the ball bounced off his leg and into the path of the Saints striker. Muslera pulled Kane down and was shown a straight red card.

After a long delay, centre-back Kerr held his nerve to fire the spot-kick into the corner of the net past substitute goalkeeper Berk Balaban.

Saints could not enjoy their lead for long. On-loan Manchester United left-back Reece Devine tried to cut out a pass to French right-back Boey but missed the ball, and the debutant – who had been linked with Celtic this summer – took advantage, drilling an angled drive into the far corner.

Balaban almost gifted Saints another goal, losing the ball to May near the corner flag, but the substitute’s effort from a difficult angle was cleared off the line.

The 10 men finished strongly. Jamie McCart produced a great headed block from Marcao’s volley before Clark made a brilliant save from Christian Luyindama’s header to secure a famous result for the Perth men.