SPL, Nov 27th 2011, Rugby Park
SPL, Nov 27th 2011, Rugby Park
Kilmarnock 1 Rangers 0
SPL Match 16 , Rugby Park, Nov 27th 2011
Kilmarnock shocked Rangers and breathed new life into the title race as Manuel Pascali's header gave them a first home win over the Ibrox side since 1994.
Ally McCoist's team were looking to equal an 82-year-old club record by remaining unbeaten on the road for a 15th consecutive game.
However, Kilmarnock had other ideas and Pascali's 80th-minute header from Garry Hay's lofted pass secured victory.
Rangers now lead Celtic by four points after their first loss of the season.
Within the first minute, debutant Sone Aluko supplied Steven Davis inside the box, but his cross from the right for Nikica Jelavic was just too strong and the Croatian could not connect in front of goal.
Aluko looked in the mood and played in Jelavic who hit the post, although the offside flag had gone up for a tight decision.
Kilmarnock, forced to substitute the injured midfielder Danny Buijs for Danny Racchi after seven minutes, briefly threatened from a rare foray upfield as Pascali saw a header blocked from a corner.
Kenny Shiels' side were soon in trouble again as goalkeeper Cammy Bell was challenged by Jelavic as he prepared to kick clear, but the ball bounced out for a throw-in.
The Ayrshire side slowly grew in confidence as the game remained goalless and Rangers were dealt a blow as the injured Kyle Lafferty had to be replaced by youngster Kane Hemmings.
The Rugby Park side's Gary Harkins went down after a shoulder-to-shoulder tussle with Kirk Broadfoot in the penalty box, but the referee was unmoved.
McCoist's side replied with a shot from Hemmings which stung the palms of Bell.
Rangers then had a strong penalty claim on the brink of half-time when Hay took out Aluko in the box in a goalmouth scramble before McCulloch's shot hit the side netting.
Kilmarnock made a strong start to the second period and Dean Shiels' through ball found Harkins only for Steven Whittaker to block his effort and concede a corner.
From the resultant set-piece by Shiels, the ball cracked off Jelavic's head and smacked against the crossbar with Allan McGregor beaten.
It was the Ibrox side's turn to threaten next as Hemmings released Aluko, whose powerful effort was cleared off the line by James Fowler with Bell beaten.
The action switched to the other end after 65 minutes when Liam Kelly's defence-splitting pass sent Paul Heffernan one-on-one with McGregor, but the Rangers No 1 stretched out his left hand to divert the ball clear.
McCoist's men had a fantastic chance to take the lead when handed a free kick 20 yards from goal, but Davis could only fire straight into the opposition wall.
Aluko still had plenty of energy left and his left-foot shot drive trundled into the box and hit the base of the post and Hemmings could not convert the rebound.
The miss was to prove costly as Kilmarnock swept upfield and Hay lofted a hopeful ball into the box from around 25 yards.
Aluko failed to step out with the rest of Rangers' defence and Manuel Pascali connected to head past McGregor and put the home side ahead.
Substitute Alejandro Bedoya shot straight at Bell from inside the box in the closing seconds as Kilmarnock held on for a famous victory.
Killie: Cameron Bell, Garry Hay, M Sissoko, Manuel Pascali, Rory McKeon, James Fowler, Liam Kelly, Gary Harkins, Paul Heffernan, (90 mins for William Gross), Danny Bujis, (7 mins for Danny Racchi) (74 mins for Silva), Dean Shiels .
Subs Not Used: Annsi Jaakkola, James Dayton, Gary Harkins, Zdenek Kroca, Alex Pursehouse.
Kenny Shiels Post Match Comments..."It was a great result for us. We spoke about this during the week. I've been on the receiving end of things like this in the past. I felt we could win this game if we worked in certain areas. It worked really well for us. Destiny has a part to play in these things at times. Rangers hit the post, Alejandro Bedoya had a chance at the end. When you lose a match like they did, sometimes you just need to say it wasn't to be. I think the bad luck we've had this season, if we can call it that, was cancelled out. I don't want that to take away from the players' performance, though. We have a good chemistry in there. It was a collective performance.They must do the same to Aberdeen next week, otherwise their victory will be meaningless. Usually we turn victories into draws. This can only help with their self-belief. I took the kids into the dressing room at full-time. I told them to look at the senior pros. Guys like Manuel Pascali and Garry Hay, the example they showed today. It's part of the young players' responsibility to develop that. What it means to us is that it must help our self-belief. There's no point just turning up for the Old Firm games. We've got Aberdeen next week and if we don't perform to the same level then all this will have been pointless. We've got to turn up for games outside of the Old Firm. It's been such a long haul waiting for Kilmarnock to beat Rangers. We put a lot of effort into the psychology and the shirts we were playing. We did some work on tactics, but a lot of the work this week was mental. This has been my most satisfying win, definitely. It takes a magnificent effort to beat the Old Firm and you need a little bit of luck here and there. When it happens it becomes really self-satisfying, but it's the summer and the swallow thing. We have to go on now. But listen, we could have lost that game 1-0 and I would still have been proud had they given me everything they had. There's no point shouting from the rooftops over a result like this if we can't do it against other teams. There were similarities with the Celtic game. We were 3-0 up before they had a shot. People forget that. They didn't walk all over us to get back into it, it was a free-kick. We nullified certain areas in how both Celtic and Rangers played. You're always going to get done by exceptional quality. I always had it in the back of my head Nikica Jelavic was going to do something. Sone Aluko was tidy as well. I worried they had the tricks to hurt us. If we could get to them early and restrict their space then I knew we had a chance. Despite 9,506 turning up for this one, the majority of punters took up the away ends. People in Motherwell should support Motherwell. People in Paisley should support St Mirren, People in Kilmarnock should support Kilmarnock. Football is our national sport and we can't overlook that. I'm really pleased for the people of the town who have stuck by Kilmarnock. I can't come to terms with people who live here and support the Old Firm. I'm still trying to get my head round that. But this win makes it more satisfactory for the supporters who've waited 17 years for the result."
Ally McCoist's Post Match Comments..."This defeat's a sore one to take because I didn't see it coming. Kilmarnock worked very hard for their win and we didn't do nearly enough in return. I didn't see us losing here".
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