RANGERS continued their unbeaten Premiership run to reduce the deficit to Celtic to six points in the title race with victory over Kilmarnock.

First half goals from Connor Goldson, Fashion Sakala and James Tavernier were enough for Michael Beale’s side as they returned to action following their Viaplay Cup final defeat last Sunday.

Jeriel Dorsett netted what proved to be a consolation for Derek McInnes as Kilmarnock never looked like causing an upset to boost their chances of beating the drop this term.


Rangers owed the Ibrox crowd an apology and a performance. This comfortable win will never make amends for the events at Hampden but it was a pleasing way to attempt to get fans back on side.

It was as straightforward as Beale could have hoped for and the goals arrived at good times for Rangers as they broke the deadlock early, extended it quickly and then made sure of the victory just before the break. If only more fixtures had followed that pattern this term.

Goldson made the decisive intervention to set Beale’s side on their way. Todd Cantwell was twice denied after a short corner routine and Goldson was in the right place at the right time to score after Antonio Colak’s effort had been blocked.

It wasn’t one McInnes would have wanted to see back. The second goal was even worse from a defensive perspective as a Cantwell cross wasn’t dealt with and Sakala slotted home following an unchallenged assist from Colak.

When Tavernier fired home from the spot with just seconds of the half remaining, that was that for Rangers. It was a 13th goal of the campaign for the captain and keeper Sam Walker had no chance after Ryan Alebiosu was penalised for handball.


Rangers were cruising at the break. It was remarkable, then, to see them struggle so badly in stages after it as the game turned and Kilmarnock caused more than a bit of angst in the Light Blues defence and Ibrox stands.

Quite how Beale’s side could be so commanding and then so nervous either side of the interval is a mystery. It is just one of the issues that the Englishman must solve as he continues to plan for his first full campaign as manager and seeks to put his stamp on this misfiring squad.

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Rangers finished the match in the ascendancy and could, and perhaps should, have added to their tally to make the margin of victory more reflective of the action.

It was a strange afternoon in many ways. When Ben Davies was announced as the man of the match with a couple of minutes to go, there was confusion around the ground.

This was better in some regards from Rangers. It was far from the complete showing and there remains areas of improvement that Beale must find if his side are to finish the season strongly.

The return of John Souttar, as he entered the action alongside Ianis Hagi and Scott Arfield, was a positive sight to see. It was a case of job done for Rangers.


The fallout from Hampden has mainly centred on the side that Beale picked on the day and the decisions that the manager made during the defeat. It is fair to say that many didn’t agree with their manager’s calls before or during the game or his justifications for them afterwards.

Changes had to be made here. The Ibrox crowd wouldn’t have accepted seeing the same side selected and it was no surprise that Nicolas Raskin, the man that many believe should have started against Celtic, and fellow January arrival Cantwell handed jerseys as Ryan Jack and Colak also came into the team.

Rangers played with more purpose from the off and they carried more of a threat. Given the relative situations and levels of opposition, that was no surprise, of course, and nobody should be getting carried away with what this showing means in the bigger picture.

Raskin is one of the players that Rangers will need to be built around going forward and Cantwell impressed in the absence of Malik Tillman as he missed out completely. The other three that dropped out – John Lundstram, Glen Kamara and Alfredo Morelos – could have no complaints.

This is a squad that will need serious work done on it over the summer. It is one, though, that should be capable of extending their unbeaten league run and winning the Scottish Cup to salvage something from this season.


The mood around Ibrox pre-match told its own story. There was no buzz in the air as the fans took their seats or the teams walked out and it took just 90 seconds for the first groans to emerge from the stands as Borna Barisic misplaced a pass.

When the flow of the game turned after the break and Kilmarnock attempted to haul themselves back into it, there was a sense that it wouldn’t take much for the home crowd to turn and really get on the backs of Beale and his players.

The position of the punters had been made perfectly clear just minutes in. A banner which read ‘After 55 titles you took your eye off the ball. Time for change’ was unfurled by the Union Bears and the applause from around the ground was indicative of the feeling of a support that have major reservations about those that are leading their club.

READ MORE: Michael Beale details Rangers rebuild as he reflects on Celtic defeat

For many, the impending overhaul on the park must be followed by one off the park. The position of chairman Douglas Park continues to divide opinion and others – such as Stewart Robertson and Ross Wilson – also find themselves under the spotlight once again.

It is shaping up to be an interesting summer in more ways than one at Ibrox. Time will tell who survives heading into next season but the futures of key figures in the dressing room and the boardroom are very much up for debate right now.


The gameplan would have been clear for McInnes. Unfortunately for the Killie boss, putting it into action was far tricker than laying it out to his players pre-match.

McInnes would have stressed the importance of keeping Rangers at bay for as long as possible and highlighted the fragile state of the Ibrox crowd. The longer Killie kept it goalless, the greater chance they had of ending their wretched record on the road this term.

Those ambitions were undone three times in the first half. The break allowed Kilmarnock a chance to regroup and McInnes introduced Jordan Jones in attempt to spark his side into life.

The close-range header from Dorsett was a reward for their efforts in the opening stages of the second period. The visitors had to strike again quickly if they were going to produce a remarkable fightback and time was soon against them.

Fixtures like this are not going to determine Killie’s fate in the Premiership relegation battle. This was one they never looked like getting anything from.