Rangers tasted defeat yet again this season as they lost 2-1 to Kilmarnock on Saturday. The result was more than fair as Rangers were outplayed for pretty much the entire game.
Rangers started with Bates replacing the injured Alves, and Hodson at left back. Declan John was moved into a wide midfield role, and Windass was played next to Morelos in a 4-4-2. Kilmarnock went with a 4-5-1, allowing Jones and Brophy to stay wide and high up the pitch.
The first real chances for either side came within a minute of each other. A set piece for Kilmarnock was knocked down by Boyd, and Brophy hit a weak shot on the turn which Foderingham collected. The Rangers goalkeeper then played a magnificent pass to Josh Windass, who was through on goal. His effort was weak as well, though, and presented no problems for the Kilmarnock goalkeeper.
Kilmarnock were dominating possession, with Mulumbu controlling the midfield. They weren’t able to create any real chances, however. The rare occasions where Rangers played some football, they found space behind the Kilmarnock left-back. A few crosses were poor, but it was a sign of what was to come.
On 39 minutes, Rangers broke the deadlock. Some good link up on the right sent Windass clear, and his cutback was met by Declan John. From around 12 yards on his right foot, he controlled his shot into the far post to score his third league goal of the season. The goal was against the run of play despite the lack of chances Kilmarnock were creating.
The next chance of the half fell to Daniel Candeias, whose shot from just outside the box was well held by Jamie MacDonald. Rangers then had a great chance with the last kick of the half, as Declan John played a perfect cross which Morelos didn’t quite anticipate.
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The second half saw Kilmarnock start very quickly. Within minutes, Foderingham had made two great saves to keep Rangers ahead. The first was from a Boyd header after a good free kick on the right. Somehow, Foderingham was able to get his hands to the ball and scoop it over the bar.
The second chance came just minutes later, as Bates lost a header. Boyd was marginally offside, but it wasn’t called, and he hit a great shot with his left foot. Foderingham stayed on his feet and got an outstretched leg to the ball.
Kilmarnock then hit the post through Brophy and must have started to wonder if it wasn’t going to be their day. Rangers weren’t creating much but missed a real chance from a great Candeias cross as Windass headed over.
Kilmarnock kept the pressure up as they looked to get that equaliser. Brophy had a shot which hit Foderingham in the chest, and a corner was nodded just wide. It was clear they were the stronger team at this stage, but Murty didn’t make any changes to combat this.
In what was almost a carbon copy of his first-half chance, Morelos didn’t get on the end of a Candeias cross and another good chance was spurned. Had Rangers went two goals ahead, there was no doubt it would have been lucky. However, these misses were to come back and haunt them as Kilmarnock turned the game around in a few minutes.
On the 77th minute, Boyd got the equaliser. Rangers lost possession in midfield, and Hodson was caught out by a ball over the top from Mulumbu. Both centre-halves seemed to step out when they needed to be back covering, and Brophy squared an easy ball for Boyd to finish.
Just three minutes later, it was 2-1 to the home side. Rangers lost a few challenges just outside the box, and Mulumbu hit a low shot which was going wide. Boyd directed the ball into the net with his right foot, and whilst it may have looked lucky at the time, replays showed that he knew exactly what he was doing.
With just ten minutes left, Rangers were chasing an equaliser. However, they were unable to create any real pressure. The only chance to equalise fell to Bates, who missed an opportunity inside the box from a free kick.
Rangers didn’t deserve anything from this game. Despite a few missed chances, it was the performance of Foderingham which kept the score down. They were bullied in midfield and never reacted to how the game was going. It’s now four matches in a row where the performance has been poor, and the fans are certainly unhappy with the direction the team is going in.
Foderingham; Tavernier, Bates, Wilson, Hodson (Herrera, 83); Candeias, McCrorie, Holt, John; Windass, Morelos.
SUBS NOT USED: Kelly, Hardie, Barjonas, Pena, Kranjcar, Cardoso.
MacDonald, Taylor, Broadfoot, Boyd, O’Donnell, Power, Dicker, Mulumbu, Jones (Burke, 90), Brophy (Findlay, 85), Boyd (Erwin, 87)
SUBS NOT USED: Bell, Waters, McKenzie, Frizzell.