Rangers keep pressure on rivals
Rangers kept the pressure on Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic after thrashing Kilmarnock 4-0 on Sunday. Walter Smith's side moved to within two points of their Glasgow rivals thanks to goals from David Weir, Kris Boyd, Kenny Miller and Steven Whittaker at Rugby Park.
The Ibrox outfit could have won by more as Boyd missed a penalty when the match was still goalless, but the gloss was slightly taken off the victory when Scotland midfielder Kevin Thomson carried off in the closing minutes.
Smith had named the same side that drew with Dundee United as Barry Ferguson once again settled for a place on the bench following ankle surgery in the close-season. Rangers carved out the first real chance when Thomson's long ball into the box was nodded on by Madjid Bougherra for Boyd, but the striker's header was blocked by goalkeeper Alan Combe.
It was Kilmarnock who looked the brighter team early on though and they had a decent chance of their own when David Fernandez's lay-off was collected by William Gibson, who fired just wide of a post. Kilmarnock threatened again when Jamie Hamill picked out Donovan Simmonds in front of goal but he headed over the crossbar.
Rangers should have been ahead when they were awarded a penalty with 28 minutes gone when Boyd was tripped by James Fowler. Boyd stepped up for the spot-kick but was denied the opener by an excellent save from Combe.
Steven Davis then saw his thunderous 30-yard free-kick smash off the crossbar as the visitors pushed for the advantage. Nacho Novo was also denied by the woodwork when his close-range shot smacked the post and Combe smothered before anyone could react.
The goal Rangers deserved finally arrived five minutes after the restart when Weir headed in a Kevin Thomson cross. Boyd added his name to the scoresheet just four minutes later, after meeting a great cross from Miller and slotting home from inside the box.
Kirk Broadfoot was then booked for diving in the box after going to ground under pressure from Combe even though it looked like his foot was clipped by the goalkeeper. There was concern for Rangers when Thomson left the pitch on a stretcher, but the travelling supporters were quickly celebrating again when Miller met a Davis cross to nod home from a few yards with three minutes to go.
Whittaker, on for Thomson, put the seal on an impressive display when he volleyed home in the last minute.