28-10-2000 Rangers (A) SPL

Does It Get Any Better Than This ?

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Rangers 0 Kilmarnock 3

(SPL Match No.13 Ibrox, Oct 28th 2000)

Rangers' season collapsed further into the chaos as they were soundly beaten 3-0 by Kilmarnock.

Now they face the prospect of ending the weekend 15 points behind Celtic, who play on Sunday.

Rangers were as woeful as the scoreline suggests while Kilmarnock on the other hand produced a textbook counter-attacking performance to extend their own cushion in third place to four points.

Amazing as it sounds now the bookies had the Ayrshiremen as 7-1 outsiders to win this one. Three-nil was a whopping 80-1 shot against a side that was quoted before kick-off as 1/3 certs.

They say you never see a poor bookmaker but had not the turf ccountants seen Rangers recently? And did they not know Bobby Williamson's boys had gone 10 games without defeat before coming to Ibrox?

They also say the league table never lies but for some reason the home side as well as the bookies had failed to anticipate the reality of the visitors' threat.

Reality saw the Rangers defence caught out twice before half-time on the counter attack and then again on another occasion after the break.

And that's just the ones that went in the net. It could have been more and the home fans were leaving in droves long before the final whistle.

Unlike last year, Bobby Williamson has been able to field a set of regulars throughout this untroubled season and that stability has been one of the main reasons for his hard-working yet skilful side's success.

It also left a number of fringe players kicking their heels and muttering on the sidelines. Until today Christophe Cocard (left) was one of them, but it took him just six minutes to make an impression after coming into the starting line-up in place of Paul Wright.

The Frenchman had the ball at his feet and the Rangers rearguard back-pedalling and, after a quick exchange with Andy McLaren, slipped the ball effortlessly past exposed Ibrox debutant Jesper Christiansen.

McLaren's square ball from the left had been perfect for his team-mate to complete the job.

The second goal, in the 33rd minute, had a familiar look about it simply because Ian Durrant was the architect.

The former Rangers man cut inside Arthur Numan, (left) who had been a pre-kick off injury scare, and pushed the ball forward for Gary Holt to chase.

That he did and, after holding off Bert Konterman's challenge, he finished as calmly as Cocard had done.

Rangers on the other hand could fashion no such clear chances against a well-stocked defence.

 

Their main, and at times seemingly only, plan of action was to give the ball to Andrei Kanchelskis on the right wing.

But while the winger caused Kilmarnock no end of concern the final delivery was never there. When he beat his man to get to the byline the pull-back found an opponent. And when he found an opponent it was also the wrong result as was proved when he at last tried a shot and managed to wing Sergio Porrini.

The one time he did find the route to goal unblocked also ended unsatisfactorily when he volleyed over when he had time at his disposal.

No other Ranger had such an influence on the first 45 minutes and Lorenzo Amoruso continued his bewildering policy of taking the free-kicks despite a singular lack of success.

The one time Ronald de Boer insisted on relieving him of his duty the Dutchman could only bounce his effort off the wall. Dick Advocaat clearly had to make things change and quick and made sure the second half could not resemble its predecessor by taking off Kanchelskis and bringing on Billy Dodds.

The net result was plenty more goalmouth scrambles and Gordon Marshall was a far more nervous goalkeeper after the break, needing to be bailed out by colleagues on more than one occasion.

But the main event of the second period was Numan's own goal, a tragicomic end to a difficult week for the Dutchman when he turned McLaren's cross-shot into his own net after it had bounced off Christiansen.

Before the game Advocaat had written in the match programme that he saw no reason why his under-performing troops should not go on to win their next 14 league fixtures.

But they fell at hurdle number one on a day when it was proved that bookies don't always get it right either.

Teams:

Rangers: Christensen, Ricksen, Porrini (Miller 53), Konterman, Amoruso, Numan, Kanchelskis (Dodds 46), Tugay, McCann, de Boer, Wallace (Adamczuk 79).

Subs Not Used: Brown, Ross.

Kilmarnock: Marshall, MacPherson, Dindeleux, Innes, Hay, Holt, Mahood, Durrant (Fowler 79), Mitchell, McLaren (Dargo 83), Cocard (Vareille 69).

Subs Not Used: Meldrum, Canning.

Booked: Mahood.

Goals: Cocard 5, Holt 32, Numan 67 og. 

Att: 49,569

Ref: J Underhill (Scotland). 



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