Rangers lived dangerously against Kilmarnock at Ibrox this afternoon and only recorded the narrowest of wins thanks to a solitary second-half goal from, surprise, surprise, Alfredo Morelos.

However, the slender victory keeps them just five points adrift of Celtic at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table ahead of the Old Firm derby game at Parkhead on Sunday.

So what did we learn from events in Govan this afternoon? Were the away team hard done by? And how are Steven Gerrard’s side looking heading into the match in the East End this weekend?


This was an unconvincing Rangers display against negative opponents who made no excuses for sitting back, soaking up pressure and seeking to grab a goal on the breakaway. But, ultimately, they got the job done.

Over the course of a long hard season there will always be occasions when, for whatever reason, a side challenging for a title fails to perform at its best. What is important when that happens is that they find a way to win and that is exactly what the Ibrox club did. Gerrard was only concerned with the final outcome.


Drawing this match would have left Rangers seven points adrift of Celtic at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership going into the Old Firm game at Parkhead on Sunday and given their opponents an extra incentive to win.

But the second-half Alfredo Morelos goal means they can potentially cut their city rivals’ lead to just two points with a game in hand at home against St Johnstone with a triumph in the East End this weekend.

It could, given the closeness of the title race so far, prove to be an important victory come May.


Steven Gerrard was effusive in his praise of his old England team mate Jermain Defoe last Friday night after his stunning second-half goal against Hibernian at Easter Road and even went as far as describing his second touch as “world class”.

But Rangers aren’t, for all of the qualities of the former West Ham, Spurs and Sunderland forward, the same side without Alfredo Morelos leading the line. Defoe lacks the physicality of his club mate. He doesn’t terrorise defences in the same way.

The 37-year-old couldn’t be faulted for his work rate and his quality when he was on the ball was excellent. But against such defensive opponents he was up against it. The roar from the home support when he was replaced by Morelos in the 58th minute told a story. His arrival on the park was a game changer.

The goal the Colombian netted just seven minutes after coming onto the park summed him up. He appeared capable of scoring whenever he got the slightest sniff of the ball. It will be a huge shock if he doesn’t start against Celtic on Sunday.


Alex Dyer has stated that he won’t be applying for the Kilmarnock managerial vacancy created by the sacking of Angelo Alessio. But the caretaker must be a strong contender to take over at Rugby Park on a full-time basis after this. It was a dogged and determined display by the visitors.

Steve Clarke enjoyed many fine results against Celtic and Rangers both at home and away during his two seasons in the dugout in his native Ayrshire and his assistant clearly learned much from the now Scotland head coach in that time.

Gary Dicker and his team mates hardly threatened. In fact, Allan McGregor only had one shot on his goal, from Alan Power in the second-half, to deal with. But Clarke enjoyed great success against Glasgow’s big two by being difficult to beat. It certainly worked well for Dyer.

He went with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Dicker sitting just in front of the defence. But at times there were nine players strung out across the front of the Kilmarnock penalty box. That proved difficult for Rangers to break down.

Kilmarnock chairman Billy Bowie will doubtless have been inundated with applications for the manager’s job. But, as this 90 minutes showed, he could do a lot worse than give Dyer a chance.


The Kilmarnock players were incensed that linesman Alastair Mather didn’t raise his flag at Morelos’s goal and Alex Bruce was booked by referee Steven MacLean for protesting so vociferously. But caretaker manager Alex Dyer conceded afterwards that the forward’s strike deserved to stand.