Killie 2-1 Rangers
Scottish Premiership, Feb 12th 2020, Rugby Park
Scottish Premiership, Feb 12th 2020, Rugby Park
No. of Shots
Shots on Target
|Goals||O'Donnell 77 Brophy 88||
Koprivec; O’Donnell, Del Fabro, Findlay, Hamalainen; Power , Dicker , Burke (Millen 88′), McKenzie, Kabamba , Brophy (Johnson 90)
Subs Not Used: Lyle, Hendrie, Taylor, Kiltie, Connell
Killie stuck to the compact 4-4-2 that brought them so much success under Steve Clarke last term, and did well to frustrate Rangers, while increasingly growing into the game in the second half.
Pre-match Kilmarnock boss Alex Dyer called for a "big night" from Brophy and his striker delivered in a typical display of relentless energy as he and his team-mates put in the type of performance that became routine against the Old Firm with Clarke in charge.
Brophy had one shot well-blocked, as did his strike partner Nicke Kabamba, but a more ambitious strategy after the break did leave Kilmarnock open to the counter-attack.
They were caught out by Morelos' stunning pass in behind for Ryan Kent, and when the former Liverpool forward went to ground under pressure from Chris Burke, referee John Beaton had a decision to make but chose to wave play on.
Morelos then had a stunning lob from distance crash off the bar, having been booked for diving just a minute previously, as Rangers searched for the goal that would ease their stress.
But it never arrived, instead it was Kilmarnock who took a grip of the match. O'Donnell, as he had done in the season opener when these two sides met, calmly slotted home the leveller - which had more than a hint of controversy about it - as the ball struck the arm of Rory McKenzie before it dropped for Niko Hamalainen to provide the assist.
But that was only the start of the drama, as Morelos uncharacteristically headed over from seven yards when totally unmarked before converting James Tavernier's brilliant cross, only for his celebrations to be cut short as the officials had spotted a push on Stuart Findlay in the build-up.
It is another decision that is sure to be pored over in the days to come, but crucially Kilmarnock powered on, while Rangers switched off.
A failure to defend a straight ball from deep allowed Brophy to race through and, with ice in his veins, he lashed the ball across Allan McGregor into the bottom corner to spark wild scenes on the Kilmarnock bench.
It was a result that roused the Clarke spirit that Dyer has tried to rekindle at Rugby Park in recent times, while Rangers might consider this late collapse as the night the title was lost.
Alex Dyer: “I'm just happy that we showed what we can do after showing Rangers too much respect in the first half. If someone says 'that reminds me of a Steve Clarke team', I'll take that all day. I learned so much from the gaffer."
Gary Dicker: “When it hit 60 minutes, I thought, ‘Maybe they don’t fancy it here’. We were getting on top a bit and you could feel it turning a bit.
Rangers weren’t coming at us and you know if you stay in the game you will get a chance. We’ve proved over the years we can come back against Celtic and Rangers, and there is nothing better than a last-minute winner. But it was still only three points, that’s all. It makes people notice more when it’s one of the big boys."
Stephen Gerrard: "We came here tonight and it was a pressure game in a stadium where you know you are going to be under the cosh or under the heat. You know you are going to sustain some pressure against you. The reality is that we couldn’t cope tonight."
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