STEVEN GERRARD reckons Rangers’ character shone through as they left it late to get their Premiership title bid off to a winning start at Kilmarnock.

A last-minute header from defender Connor Goldson proved the difference at Rugby Park after Kilmarnock looked like they would deny the Gers on Angelo Alessio’s top flight debut as boss.

Scott Arfield gave Rangers the perfect start after just 16 minutes but Rangers couldn’t capitalise on their advantage and Kilmarnock pulled themselves level in the closing stages through Stephen O’Donnell. It was the visitors who would net a dramatic winner, though, as Goldson powered home a header from a corner.

Rangers had seen Old Firm rivals Celtic storm to a 7-0 victory over St Johnstone 24 hours previously but ensured there was no opening day stumble at Rugby Park despite a lacklustre performance at times.

Gerrard said: “It was a story of set-pieces and we ended up winning 2-1.

“I thought it would have been harsh and cruel if we didn’t come away with maximum points.

“I thought we controlled the majority of the game although we switched off at the back post for their goal.

“We shouldn’t be giving away stupid fouls in our won half when we only have a one goal lead.

“There’s a few things we need to learn from pretty quickly but in the main I’m pretty pleased with the character and the effort.

“Kilmarnock took ten points away from us last season so it was important to come here and win, whatever way we did it.

“Sometimes you have to show a different nice. Sometimes it is not all pretty and nice.

“Sometimes you just have to get over the line and win ugly and Connor has came big for us at the end. “

The winner from Goldson sparked wild scenes of celebration in the stands and on the park as Rangers continued their unbeaten start to the campaign after an encouraging summer for Gerrard.

The 39-year-old had previously lamented the number of dramatic finales that have gone against his side since he was appointed as Ibrox boss but this time the cards fell in Rangers’ favour.

“We did concede too many goals in the final stages of games,” Gerrard said. “I remember in the first couple of away fixtures last season we lost one late on at Aberdeen and then conceded a late set-piece at Motherwell.

“I understand that happens from time to time but if it happens to often you need to learn from it. This time it has gone our away and I’m pleased with the outcome."

After moving through to the Europa League third qualifying round with their draw in Luxembourg on Thursday night, Rangers ensured they got their domestic campaign off to a winning start at Rugby Park with a hard-fought victory.

A trip to face Midtjylland awaits in midweek before the first home league game of the season as Hibernian visit Ibrox the day after Celtic head to Motherwell.

But Gerrard won’t place any greater significance on the victory over Killie as he looks to continue building some early season momentum this term.

He said: “It is too early to talk about titles. We are 90 minutes into a season.

“I understand people are going to ask questions and talk about us an awful lot.

“For me we just focus from game to game. We want to fight as hard as we can all the way to the end.

“I have said to my players individually and collectively. It is too early to talk about titles. There is too much football to be played.

“It certainly helps when you start well. It is the start I was looking for.”