Brave Kilie go down to champs despite battling display
Stewart McConnell • Published 28 Sep 2011 09:30
Clydesdale Bank SPL RANGERS 2 KILMARNOCK 0
TWO quickfire goals inside two minutes killed off brave Killie's challenge at Ibrox Stadium but at least their resilient performance erased the bitter memory of the last meeting of the sides which saw Gers crowned champions after a 5-1 win at Rugby Park back in May.
Resilient Killie produced a superlative defensive display for an hour and can take positives into Saturday's home clash with St Johnstone.
A low key first half saw Killie digging in to frustrate Rangers by playing the ball out of defence and they had a rare slip in 20 minutes when a poor header by Dean Shiels allowed Nikica Jelavic to find Sasa Papac but goalkeeper Cammy Bell foiled the full-back. Right on half-time the Killie number one palmed away a Jelavic header.
Rangers began piling on the pressure after the break and early on a Kyle Lafferty was pulled back by Gary Fisher, who was booked and the resultant free-kick from Steven Davis was blocked. Fisher was then dispossessed by Juanma Ortiz who crossed into the box but Gary Harkins cleared the danger.
The strong visiting rearguard of skipper Manuel Pascali, Mohamadou Sissoko and Zdenek Kroca were keeping Rangers at arms length but they were being pushed further and further back and Bell saved brilliantly to foil Lafferty from six yards. But in 64 minutes a Davis free-kick was turned home by Jelavic. Harkins came so close to equalising immediately after this when his header from a James Fowler cross crashed off the crossbar, But in 66 minutes it looked like game over as Maurice Edu raced in to set up Gregg Wylde to slot the ball into the net from close range.
Late on Bell saved from Davis as Rangers held on to win but Killie can be encouraged by their spirited display.
KILMARNOCK: Bell; Fowler, Sissoko, Kroca, McKeown (Hay 62); Pascali, Kelly, Shiels (Silva 82); Fisher, Harkins (Dayton 74); Heffernan. Subs: Jaakkola, Panikvar, Hutchinson, Racchi.
For the reaction of Killie boss Kenny Shiels see this week's Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald.