Arveladze strikes to lift gloom enveloping Rangers

Kilmarnock 0 - Rangers 1
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Shota Arveladze yesterday gave Rangers a much-needed shot in the arm after their European exit by scoring the goal that cut the deficit on Celtic back to one point in the Scottish Premier League title race.

Shota Arveladze yesterday gave Rangers a much-needed shot in the arm after their European exit by scoring the goal that cut the deficit on Celtic back to one point in the Scottish Premier League title race.

The former Ajax striker decided a difficult contest at Rugby Park with a composed 16th-minute finish to exorcise the Uefa Cup defeat by Auxerre, which has deepened gloom around Ibrox - not least because it prompted abuse of Jean-Alain Boumsong's girlfriend by Rangers supporters, an incident which is now said to have made the French defender's mind up on a move to Newcastle United.

Alex McLeish insisted that Newcastle had not increased their £7.5m offer, though a parting seems just a matter of time. Boumsong had not asked for a transfer, McLeish said, but added: "He spoke to me [on Thursday] and said someone shouted at his girlfriend, though some of the other stories are nonsense."

Arveladze could also be on his way, but the Georgian shrugged aside the doubts that surround his own future at Ibrox with his fine finish, controlling a cross from Allan Hutton, then steering a fine shot beyond the goalkeeper Graeme Smith.

Kilmarnock responded and ought to have equalised after half an hour when Danny Invincible broke clear but, instead of setting up Colin Nish, the striker's selfish shot was saved by Stefan Klos.

Rangers might have profited from an intense period of pressure early in the second half, when Smith touched a shot from Dado Prso wide of the post and then Simon Ford cleared Hamed Namouchi's header off the line. However, Kris Boyd squandered Kilmarnock's best chance for an equaliser when he pounced on Gregory Vignal's backpass but failed to beat Klos with his shot.

On Saturday, Chris Sutton scored the only goal of the game in Celtic's 1-0 win over Dundee United.

Goal: Arveladze (16) 0-1.

Kilmarnock (3-4-3): Smith; Greer, Dindeleux, Ford; Invincible, MacDonald (Wales, 46), Leven, Hay; Boyd, Nish (Dodds, 72), Naismith (Murray, 59). Substitutes not used: Samson (gk), Dargo, Johnston, Wolski.

Rangers (4-4-2): Klos; Hutton, Andrews, Boumsong, Vignal; Ricksen, Namouchi (Thompson, 69), Rae, Mladenovic; Arveladze, Prso (Burke, 79). Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Ball, Hughes, Malcolm, Ross.

Referee: D McDonald.

Booked: Kilmarnock: Murray, Nish. Rangers: Rae.

Man of the match: Ricksen.

Attendance: 11,156.

Comments