Rangers failed to score for the first time this season as they were held to a goalless draw at Ibrox by Kilmarnock.
After an open, high-tempo start, Rangers soon forced Killie back into their own half and tightened the screw, but were unable to find a decisive ball or finish to make it count.
The match began at a furious pace, with chances coming at both ends in the opening minutes. Mark Warburton's men still missed the absent Jason Holt, however, and a sluggishness in moving the ball and some wayward decisions in the final third frustrated them. James Tavernier and Lee Wallace came closest in the first half, the former bringing a fine save with a thunderous effort, and the latter when Barrie McKay slipped the Rangers captain through, but again his effort was saved.
Rangers began to ramp up the pressure in the second half, but still struggled to find a decisive ball, with Gedion Zelalem offering little but runs down blind alleys and Martyn Waghorn and McKay struggling. Andy Halliday stepped up to find a long-range effort, but that too was saved.
Jason Holt's return to the team spurred Rangers on to pin back Killie, and moving McKay over to the right flank saw a flurry of chances as the game drew to a close, By far the best was when the youngster went on a superb run down the right flank before floating an inch-perfect ball to pick out Waghorn in an ocean of space in the area, but he produced a quite unbelievably bad touch and theh chance disappeared.
Kallum Higginbotham saw red for a late studs-up challenge on Tavernier, and Rangers almost won it in injury-time when a thunderous effort from Waghorn attacking the second ball in the area looked destined for goal, but Josh Magennis put in a stunning block to deny Rangers the three points.
All in all, a hugely frustrating afternoon, although we should still be winning the replay, particularly if we have time to find some form with the return of Holt (and, hopefully, Waghorn regaining some confidence.) Rugby Park is hardly a fortress, although Rangers will need to be far better in the final third.