Desperate days at Ibrox

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The Independent Football

Crisis? What a crisis. Not since the dark days of the 1980s, before the "Rangers Revolution" which was inspired by Graeme Souness, has such a blue period been known at Ibrox.

Crisis? What a crisis. Not since the dark days of the 1980s, before the "Rangers Revolution" which was inspired by Graeme Souness, has such a blue period been known at Ibrox.

Exhilarating strikes from Christophe Cocard and Gary Holt, accompanied by Arthur Numan's own goal, handed the champions their fourth defeat in five games. Never mind Celtic disappearing over the horizon, Hibernian and Kilmarnock are in clear blue water too.

The disparagement which has descended upon the Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, and his team since their midweek Champions' League defeat to Sturm Graz had been simmering ever since last weekend's capitulation at St Johnstone.

Rancour has raged, it seems, in the Rangers dressing room. Neil McCann rowed on the pitch with Lorenzo Amoruso last week, and Jesper Christiansen, the new goalkeeper, criticised the Italian defender, his captain, after his debut in Austria.

The young Dane was making his Ibrox bow, but his first task was to pick the ball out of the net after just five minutes when Kilmarnock scored with a goal of simplicity.

Frédéric Dindeleux's long ball was moved onwards by his French compatriot, Cocard, to Andy McLaren wide on the left. The rangy forward unselfishly elected not to shoot and stroked a return pass across the face of goal which Cocard swept past Christiansen.

Ibrox howled and the incessant pressing of Bobby Williamson's side ensured that the champions had precious few chances to retrieve the deficit. Indeed, they were vulnerable to the counter-attack and Holt underlined why when, in the 32nd minute, he doubled Kilmarnock's lead.

The creator was Ian Durrant, for so long an idol at Rangers, whose sublime pass released Holt and the Scotland midfielder held off Numan's challenge to guide a left-foot shot into the net.

Billy Dodds replaced Andrei Kanchelskis in the second half, but Rangers' top scorer could not alter the tide of this match. Advocaat's team huffed and puffed, but the sum total of their increased pressure was a wild volley by Numan when five blue jerseys waited in the box.

McLaren, though, wreaked havoc at the other end. He fired one fierce shot just over on the hour and a classic reverse pass was squandered by Cocard with the goal at his mercy.

However, Kilmarnock would not be denied their third. Dindeleux augmented the attack, picking out Cocard. The French striker switched the attack to McLaren, who strode into the box and drove a low cross which Numan could not get out of the way of, and an own goal ensued.

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