Alfredo Morelos came to the rescue for Rangers as they ground out a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock at Ibrox ahead of Sunday’s Old Firm clash at Celtic Park – and Steven Gerrard will be delighted to have picked up the three points even if it wasn’t the best performance of the season from his side.
Rangers named an unchanged XI from Friday’s win over Hibs with Jermain Defoe keeping his place at centre-forward as Alfredo Morelos had to make do with a place on the bench.
It was a frustrating afternoon for the Light Blues for long spells as Kilmarnock kept ten men behind the ball but Morelos found the breakthrough after replacing Defoe midway through the second half.
The result keeps Rangers right on bitter rivals Celtic’s coat-tails ahead of Sunday’s Old Firm clash at Parkhead in the final game of 2019.
Here is how Steven Gerrard’s Rangers stars performed against Kilmarnock:
Allan McGregor – 6
Absolute passenger for long spells. One save after the break. Easiest afternoon he’s had for a while.
James Tavernier – 6
Worked hard to get down the right regularly but little joy from Kilmarnock’s defence. Had a couple of chances of his own to score but somehow failed to make the keeper work with any.
Connor Goldson – 6
Barely tested defensively and sprayed some really good diagonals forward. Will have a much busier afternoon on Sunday.
Niko Katic – 6
Had a chance to open the scoring in the first 45 as Rangers dominated the play. Really quiet afternoon.
Borna Barisic – 7
Up and down the left but, like Tavernier, had little joy with his crossing at times. Poses such a threat to teams and the Croatian is showing why Gerrard was right to keep faith with him.
Ryan Jack – 7
The heartbeat of the Rangers side and constantly trying to push his team-mates on as Killie frustrated the Light Blues. So vital to this side and will have a massive part to play on Sunday.
Glen Kamara – 7
Finnish international hit the bar in the opening 45 as the Gers pushed for the opening goal. Solid performance if nothing spectacular.
Scott Arfield – 6
Enjoying a really impressive run of form recently but wasn’t at his best as the Gers huffed and puffed against Killie. Replaced by Stewart as the Gers chased a goal.
Joe Aribo – 8
Flitted in an out of the game early on as he continued in a more advanced role on the right. When he was on it, he looked really good and played a vital role in setting up Morelos to break the deadlock. Grew into the game later on and started to really impose himself.
Ryan Kent – 7
Threatened so much without ever really delivering in the first half. Looked better after the break and had a couple of opportunities to open the scoring.
Jermain Defoe – 6
Kept his place in the side ahead of Morelos but struggled to get involved for long spells as Kilmarnock packed their defence. Replaced by Morelos for the final 30 minutes.
Substitutes: Alfredo Morelos – 7 – Replaced Defoe after 58 minutes and scored soon afterwards. Greg Stewart – 5 – On for Arfield. Steven Davis – 5 – Took over from Kent with 12 minutes to go.