Alfredo Morelos played super sub for Rangers at Ibrox this afternoon as the Colombian came off the bench to salvage three points for the Gers in their final home game of the decade.
Steven Gerrard named the same side as Friday’s win over Hibs with Morelos joined on the bench by Steven Davis and Jordan Jones with Jermain Defoe leading the line for Gerrard’s side.
The Gers started the game brightly, forcing Kilmarnock back for long spells as the Light Blues kept possession and tried to break down the packed Killie defence.
Rangers’ best early chance came just before the 15th minute as some lovely interplay between Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Scott Arfield found the veteran free in the area only for the main stand linesman to flag for offside as the Gers looked to make their dominance pay.
Alex Bruce saved Killie from going one down 20 minutes in after Goldon’s long-range pass found Kent wide on the left, allowing the winger to pick-out Aribo but the veteran’s last-ditch tackle diverted the ball wide as Aribo looked set to open the scoring.
The visitors showed little interest in getting forward and seemed content to sit with everyone behind the ball in a bid to frustrate Rangers.
Alex Dyer’s side were sticking to their task admirably and for all of Rangers’ possession, the Light Blues barely tested the Killie keeper in the opening 45.
Gerrard will have had a few things to pick over with his players as they trudged off at the break, with slackness and a lack of urgency in the final third regularly causing promising attacks to break down.
There was still time for one last chance before the break for Gerrard’s side as Glen Kamara’s strike from the edge of the box clipped the top of the crossbar as it looked as though it was heading for the top corner.
Ryan Kent had the first chance of the second period as Rangers came out of the traps quickly after a sluggish end to the first half and the former Liverpool man saw his header zip just over the bar from Barisic’s cross.
The Croatian then had a chance of his own, forcing a good save from Branescu as he got down well to hold on to Barisic’s powerful drive from the edge of the area.
Branescu again came to Killie’s rescue as the on-loan Juventus keeper done well to keep out a strike from Kent as Rangers threw everything at Killie in search of a goal.
With Rangers still struggling to break the deadlock, Gerrard turned to his bench and Alfredo Morelos to inject some life into the game for the final 30 minutes as Defoe came off.
The Gers were still pushing forward and trying to exploit gaps in the Kilmarnock defence and the goal finally came on the 65th minute and it could only be one man.
Seven minutes after coming on, Aribo’s ball found the Colombian goal machine and he did what he does best by poking the ball beyond Branescu and easing the tension around Ibrox.
Morelos was making a big difference for the Gers and El Bufalo almost had a second, forcing a good save from the impressive Branescu.
There was more good news for Rangers as Steven Davis made his return to action ahead of Sunday’s Old Firm, replacing Ryan Kent with 12 minutes remaining.
While it wasn’t the sort of performance fans will have been hoping for, coming away with three points ahead of Sunday’s massive trip to Celtic Park is the main thing for Rangers this afternoon.