Wright injects life

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The Independent Online
Rangers 1

Durie 53

Kilmarnock 2

McIntyre 38, Wright pen 81

Attendance: 50,036

Paul Wright breathed a flicker of life into the dying title race, as well as continuing Kilmarnock's remarkable fight for survival at the other end of the Premier League.

The former Aberdeen and QPR striker stayed icily calm among 50,000 baying Rangers fans at Ibrox to convert an 81st-minute penalty which may yet confound the idea that interest was removed from Scottish football by the champions' win in the Old Firm derby last Sunday.

Wright's poise in such circumstances should not come as a surprise. It was that instinct for goal which prompted Alex Ferguson to give the player his debut with Aberdeen a decade ago as a mere 16-year-old. Wright and his fellow goal scorer, Jim McIntyre, both grew up as Celtic fans and achieved here what the title pretenders have failed to do on all four league encounters with Rangers this season.

It was McIntyre who put Kilmarnock in front after 38 uninspiring minutes, of which the only real incident of note was the appearance in the stand of the errant Paul Gascoigne after his binge in New York.

McIntyre certainly sobered up the home crowd, basking in the euphoria of Celtic's troubles at Dunfermline before they snatched a draw, when he pounced on an error after an innocuous cross by Dylan Kerr.

Joachim Bjorklund thumped his clearance off fellow Rangers' defender Alan McLaren and when the ball broke to McIntyre he drilled an 18-yard shot past keeper Andy Dibble.

Brian Laudrup, the game's best player, engineered Rangers' equaliser in the 53rd minute. A run past four tackles ended with the Dane sending the ball across the face of the goal for Gordon Durie to score at the back post.

Kilmarnock, though, never lost their sense of adventure and got their reward in the 80th minute when McIntyre was brought down in the area by Dibble, to allow Wright to net his 15th goal of the season.