Rangers rock solid

Rangers 3 Kilmarnock 0


Rangers 3 Kilmarnock 0

The Premier Division title race has become one of psychological warfare between Rangers and their great rivals, Celtic, with Rangers taking the advantage by moving five points clear on a day when Celtic's game with Raith Rovers fell victim to the weather.

The two clubs who have shaped the history of football in Scotland are locked together in one of the most interesting campaigns for years, and as they play mind games with each other the coming month will see who keeps their nerve, with both having lost just one league game over the first half of the season.

Although not at their best, Rangers did enough to see off a poor Kilmarnock side to give their supporters the Christmas present they most wanted. While their flair players, Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne, were not required to rise above the ordinary, the overall strength of Rangers was always too much for Kilmarnock to harbour realistic hopes of an upset. Only rarely did Kilmarnock threaten and when they did the Rangers defence, in which Richard Gough was outstanding, stood firm.

It had taken the legs of Dragoje Lekovic to deny Oleg Salenko before the Russian striker gave Rangers the lead. He was well positioned and unmarked at the far post as he side-footed the ball into the net from a deep Laudrup cross. Kilmarnock might have pulled level two minutes later but Tom Brown wasted their best chance of the game when he sent a free header wide of the post.

The visitors were to pay for their indiscretion on the stroke of half- time when a Gascoigne flick was handled inside the area by Jim Lauchlan to give Rangers a penalty, from which Gordon Durie doubled their lead.

That second goal effectively killed off the Kilmarnock challenge as well as any interest or entertainment this game had to offer a large crowd on a bitterly cold day. Paul Wright shot narrowly wide in the 63rd minute, while Ian Ferguson saw his shot from 18 yards saved by the goalkeeper. It was left to Gascoigne, with virtually the last kick of the game, to seal the result. Derek McInnes fired a diagonal ball to Salenko, who found Gascoigne inside the area. A quick flick deceived a defender and a low shot completed the move.

Saturday's games will give both Rangers and Celtic another chance to jockey for position before their meeting on 3 January, a match which could go a long way towards determining the destination of the league flag. There is little doubt that any Celtic spy in the main stand at Ibrox yesterday would have seen little to cause undue concern in the way Rangers played, although Tommy Burns and Walter Smith, the two managers, know well enough by now that an Old Firm game is a one-off occasion.

Rangers (3-4-3): Goram; Petric, Gough, McLaren; Miller, Gascoigne, Ferguson (McInnes, 75), Robertson; Durie (Durrant, 84), Salenko, Laudrup. Substitute not used: Mikhailichenko.

Kilmarnock (4-4-2): Lekovic; MacPherson, Whitworth, Lauchlan, Reilly; Mitchell, Henry, Connor, Holt; Wright, Brown. Substitutes not used: Montgomerie, Maskrey, Meldrum (gk).

Referee: W Crombie (Edinburgh).

Goals: Salenko (24) 1-0; Durie (pen 45) 2-0; Gascoigne (90) 3-0.

Bookings: Rangers: Miller. Kilmarnock: Connor, Whitworth, Brown.

Man of the match: Gough. Attendance: 45,173

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Richmond Fellowship Scotland: Executive Director

£66,192 per annum including car allowance of £5,700): The Richmond Fellowship ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Recruitment Genius: Office Junior

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Site Agent

£22000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This traditional family company...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent