Second half goals from Steven Whittaker and Kenny Miller gave Rangers a good 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock and sent them thirteen points ahead of Celtic in the SPL title race.
Walter Smith named an unchanged side from the previous game against St Mirren, with Madjid Bougherra still sidelined thanks to an injury picked up in the old firm game.
Kilmarnock, by Walter Smith’s admission, were the better team in the first half, and the first chance fell to Mehdi Taouil who had a shot early on which went straight into Allan McGregor’s arms.
Rangers first real chance fell to Kris Boyd who was put through on goal by his strike partner Kenny Miller, Boyd tried to lob the goalkeeper but the ball just went over the bar.
At the other end, Kilmarnock nearly made the breakthrough after a slip from Allan McGregor, but McGregor managed to recover and get in the way of Taouil’s shot. Chris Maguire had the last real chance of the half, but his shot was kept out by McGregor.
Rangers got the breakthrough in the tenth minute of the second half. Sasa Papac crossed the ball into the box, Tim Clancy could not clear properly and the ball fell to Steven Whittaker who dodged the defender and lashed the ball into the back of the net. This was Whittaker’s eleventh goal of the season, a great return for a guy who has player most of the season as a full-back.
Rangers then sealed the win in the sixty-first minute. Miller grabbed a typical striker’s goal as he fired in a rebound from a Steve Davis shot. Rangers looked comfortable for the remainder of the game and had good chances from Kris Boyd twice, and sub Nacho Novo.
The victory means Rangers are thirteen points ahead of Celtic, and are now SIX games away from clinching the championship. It might be possible to do it before the split, but that would depend on Celtic dropping points. However, should Rangers win their next five games, they can seal it in the first game after the split, with four games to spare.
It is also worth pointing out that Rangers have only lost ONE Spl game in the last year. A remarkable achievement by Walter Smith under the circumstances, and it proves that Rangers are well worthy of the position they are in.
Kilmarnock Bell, Clancy, Fowler, Wright, Pascali, Taouil, Flannigan (Invincibile 65), Hamill, Severin (Kelly 86), Russell (Burchill 69), Maguire,
SUBS NOT USED: Robinson, Hay, Kiernan, Fernandez.
BOOKINGS: Fowler, Wright, Maguire.
Rangers McGregor, Whittaker, Weir, Wilson, Papac, Davis, McCulloch, Thomson (Edu 68), Beasley, Boyd, Miller (Novo 76).
SUBS NOT USED: Alexander, Broadfoot, Naismith, Fleck, Little.
GOALS: Whittaker (55), Miller (61).
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