Kilmarnock 1 Rangers 3: Andrews inspires Rangers comeback

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The Independent Football

Marvin Andrews dug Rangers and Alex McLeish out of a hole here yesterday to maintain his side's pursuit of Heart of Midlothian in their duel for Champions' League football.

The Trinidad and Tobago defender has been a peripheral figure recently as the clock ticks down on McLeish's four-year reign before the Paul Le Guen era but he came off the bench to influence this contest with two trademark robust headers.

Andrews inspired a comeback that did not look possible in a first half when Rangers, who remain in third place in the Scottish Premier League, were hounded out of their stride by a Kilmarnock side, who were rewarded by Colin Nish's fine opener.

This occasion marked Kris Boyd's return to the club he left four months ago in a £400,000 move. The SPL's top scorer almost scored his 33rd of the season after just five minutes but flicked his header over the bar.

Ten minutes later, Alan Combe, the Kilmarnock goalkeeper, defied Rangers with two remarkable saves, beating out Thomas Buffel's initial shot and then leaping to paw away the follow-up from Gavin Rae.

However, Kilmarnock's vigour and fluent passing turned the contest their way and Nish underlined that with a sublime goal after 28 minutes. The striker profited from Gary Wales' fine lay-off and rifled his shot into the roof of the net.

Kilmarnock's momentum, though, was damaged by the loss of their captain, Garry Hay, minutes later after a dreadful collision with Boyd. Wilson was fortunate to avoid being punished with a penalty before the interval for tugging back Buffel, but the arrival of Andrews turned the tide.

The substitute equalised in the 50th minute as he met Steven Smith's well-delivered free-kick with a glancing header. Rangers owed a touch of fortune to going ahead in the 65th minute, as Dado Prso's cross was met by Boyd's head but the deflection from Kilmarnock defender Gordon Greer beat Combe. Eleven minutes from the end, Andrews collected his second goal.

Chris Burke's tenacity kept the ball in play and the winger's deft cross to the back post was buried by Andrews. "We kept our nerve and showed character to come back," reflected McLeish later.