Kris Boyd's rich scoring record against his former club continued yesterday with a hat-trick in an incident-packed match where the spotlight fell not on the Rangers striker but on the referee, Dougie McDonald, who was atrocious.
Boyd has now scored eight times in five games against Kilmarnock for Rangers since swapping Rugby Park for Ibrox 13 months ago.
Rangers remain unbeaten under Walter Smith after four games, and stay in second place in the Scottish Premier League, with Aberdeen in third, four points behind.
The visitors lost two players with hamstring problems in the first half - Ugo Ehiogu and Kevin Thomson, on his debut - and both are doubts for Wednesday's Uefa Cup match in Israel against Hapoel Tel Aviv.
"It was always going to be a tough game at Kilmarnock," Smith said. "And we've got another tough away game on Wednesday. But it's satisfying we got a result."
Boyd's first goal was a penalty, awarded unfairly after Kilmarnock's Simon Ford had made a good intervention to stop Boyd reaching a through ball from Barry Ferguson. His second, on the half-hour, was a decent header from a cross by Alan Hutton. His third was another penalty, awarded after James Fowler was adjudged to have shoved Nacho Novo in a 50-50 chase for the ball.
At 1-0, Rangers also had a perfectly good goal chalked off for offside. Prompted by boos from the home fans, who were reacting to a late and incorrect flag, McDonald consulted his assistant, then discounted the goal.
He awarded a legitimate penalty to Kilmarnock in the second half, for a push by Hutton on the fleet-footed Steven Naismith, but Allan McGregor saved well from Peter Leven. Naismith later scored the home consolation by touching Gordon Greer's flick-on over the line.
Kilmarnock rarely take anything from Rangers but can at least look forward to a CIS Cup final against Hibernian next month. The referee will be Dougie McDonald. "I just hope he has a better day then," Jim Jefferies, the Kilmarnock manager, said.
Goals: Boyd pen (9) 0-1; Boyd (30) 0-2; Boyd pen(59) 0-3; Naismith (73) 1-3.
Kilmarnock (4-4-2): Combe; Murray, Greer, Ford (Johnston, 63), Wright (Locke, h-t); Quinn (Di Giacomo, 68), Dodds, Leven, Wales; Naismith. Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Hamill, Campbell, Flannigan.
Rangers (4-2-3-1): McGregor; Hutton, Ehiogu (Svensson, 26), Weir, Murray; Hemdani, Thomson (Novo, h-t); Burke, Ferguson, Adam; Boyd. Substitutes not used: Robinson (gk), Papac, Sionko, Lennon, Furman.
Referee: D McDonald.
Booked: Kilmarnock Combe, Fowler, Locke; Rangers Hutton, Murray.
Man of the match: Boyd.
Attendance: 11,894.Reuse content