Rangers' lead reduced to four points

 

Kilmarnock 1 Rangers 0:Rangers saw their impressive away record come to an end after suffering defeat at the hands of Kilmarnock to reduce their lead over Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League to four points.

Ally McCoist’s men were aiming for their 15th consecutive league win on the road but Manuel Pascali grabbed the only goal late on to ensure the three points remained at Rugby Park.

Sone Aluko made his Rangers debut from the start after completing his move to the Ibrox club earlier in the week and was in the thick of the action immediately when he found Steven Davis in the box, who teed up the shot for Nikica Jelavic in front of goal but the Croatian connected awkwardly and Kilmarnock goalkeeper Cammy Bell was able to gather.

Rangers continued to push forward in search of the opener and Bell raced off his line to smother at the feet of Davis before he could shoot.

The visitors made a change when Kyle Lafferty was forced out of the action five minutes before half-time and he was replaced by Kane Hemmings.

Killie had a penalty claim ignored when Gary Harkins went to ground under pressure from Ross Perry and Kirk Broadfoot but referee Alan Muir was unimpressed.

Bell then did well to save a powerful right-foot shot from Hemmings as the first half ended goalless.

Kilmarnock started the second half strongly and a Harkins effort trundled just past the upright and out of play after Steven Whittaker managed to get a block on the shot. Jelavic then saw his headed clearance smack off his own crossbar under pressure from Pascali.

At the other end, Killie resorted to last-gasp defending when James Fowler hooked an Aluko drive off the line, before McGregor came to the rescue of Rangers with an excellent save after finding himself one-on-one with Racchi.

Aluko was again denied a goal on his maiden bow, this time by the woodwork when his shot squeezed through a congested goalmouth and struck the far post.

But he had an unwanted part to play when Kilmarnock opened the scoring with 10 minutes to go. A corner broke to Fowler and he punted into the path of Pascali who nodded into the back of the net, with Aluko coming off the line and playing the Italian onside.