A late header by David Bates was the difference between the two sides at Auchenhowie this afternoon in a game Rangers should have won by a much more comfortable margin.
Rangers opened up by almost immediately putting Kilmarnock under pressure and won a corner in the first 30 seconds of the game after some good work down the right created a shooting opportunity for Jordan Gibson.
The young Gers kept up the pressure on Jamie MacDonald’s goal but struggled to get any of their efforts on target. Josh Windass and Liam Burt both looked particularly threatening but Killie’s defence, marshalled superbly by Miles Addison, never looked too troubled.
Rangers midfield trio of Windass, Barjonas & Ashmore managed the pace of the game throughout the first half with Windass the main creative outlet for Davie McCAllum’s side.
Windass was replaced at the break by Amin Abaradan with the Spaniard leading the line and Jordan Gibson dropping back into midfield.
The Gers almost took an early lead in the second half when Max Ashmore’s long range strike whizzed inches past sub keeper Lyle’s upright.
That was the sign for Rangers to up the pressure on their visitors. Abaradan was making a nuisance of himself while Ross McCrorie was bursting forward regularly trying to push his teammates on.
Amin Abaradan should have made it 1-0 Rangers when he had all the time in the world to fire beyond Lyle but fluffed his shot and dragged it wide of the post. Ross Lyon somehow managed to gather the ball before it went out but it was quickly smothered by Lyle.
Rangers then finally grabbed a well deserved goal when sub David Bates headed home brilliantly from a corner. The ex-Raith man rose above everyone to bullet a header into the bottom corner.
Rangers: Alnwick, Bradley, Beerman, Ashmore, Ross McCrorie, Wilson, Burt, Barjonas, Gibson (Atayaki 65’), Windass (Abaradan 45’), Lyon
Subs: Robby McCrorie, Bates, Krones, Dallas , Adamson
Goals: Bates 88’
Kilmarnock: MacDonald (Lyle 45’), T. Queen, Lidington, I. Wilson, Addison, M. Smith, McLean, Hawkshaw, Morrison, Frizzell, Umerah (Whittaker 45’)
Subs: Clark, Wilson, Graham