Killie 2-2 Rangers
SPL Match 5, Rugby Park, Aug 27th, 2006
SPL Match 5, Rugby Park, Aug 27th, 2006
SPL Match 5, Rugby Park, Aug 27th, 2006
Killie: Graeme Smith, James Fowler, Garry Hay, Grant Murray, Fraser Wright, Gordon Greer, Peter Leven, (45 mins David Fernandez), Steven Naismith, Colin Nish, (45 mins Gary Wales), Danny Invincibile, Allan Johnston, (82 mins Rhian Dodds)
Subs Not Used: Cameron Bell, Paul Di Giacomo, Ryan O'Leary, Jamie Adams,
Killie Goals: Wright 63, Naismith (Pen) 90.
Gers Goals: Boyd 43, 85 mins
Steven Naismith delivered what may turn out to be a leaving present to Killie, coolly converting a stoppage-time penalty kick which gave the Ayrshire club their first league point against Rangers for four years.
The Scotland Under-21 international forward forced his former team-mate Kris Boyd to share the limelight in what, after a tepid start, became a pulsating and ultimately dramatic encounter.
Allan McGregor began in goal for Rangers after Lionel Letizi failed to recover from a calf strain.
For Kilmarnock, Gary Wales and Stevie Murray made way for Danny Invincibile and Allan Johnston.
Boyd missed an early chance when Brahim Hemdani supplied the striker only for Boyd to shoot wide of goal.
Naismith cleared a Julien Rodriguez header off the line before the hosts had a penalty claim turned down when the ball seemed to strike the hand of Boyd.
The home crowd erupted again when Naismith went to ground under pressure from Clement but referee Alan Freeland again dismissed the claim.
And three minutes before the break Rangers went ahead when Prso fed Boyd who tricked two defenders before planting an angled shot in the net.
Jefferies made two changes at the start of the second half, replacing Peter Leven and Colin Nish with debutant David Fernandez and Gary Wales.
Kilmarnock carried far greater conviction, although required fine saves from Smith to deny Libor Sionko and Lee Martin while Prso blazed a simple chance to put Rangers 2-0 up over the crossbar.
Almost inevitably, the visitors paid for their profligacy when Kilmarnock fashioned an equaliser for the first time in 63 minutes. Wales swung over a corner from the left and it was the unlikely figure of Fraser Wright (above) who bulleted home his first goal for the club, the former Stranraer defender not picked up by either Rodriguez or Karl Svensson.
The game was up for grabs now and both teams missed fine chances as the tempo became more frantic. Prso failed twice more from prime position for Rangers, while Danny Invincible and Fernandez were unable to convert close-range headers for Kilmarnock.
After a bad miss by Invincibile, Rangers manager Paul Le Guen made a double substitution, introducing Thomas Buffel and Filip Sebo for Lee Martin and Sionko.
Prso spurned a couple of gaping chances before turning provider again for Boyd who showed how it is done by dispatching beyond Graeme Smith.
The celebrations of the visiting support proved premature, however, when Rangers full-back Alan Hutton was penalised for handball in the first minute of stoppage time as he blocked a header from substitute Rhian Dodds. Up stepped Steven Naismith who, if nothing else, could give Thierry Henry lessons in taking penalties as he smashed the ball high to McGregor's left and into the roof of the net.
Kilmarnock took their first point from Rangers in four years, with this valuable draw.
Naismith showed nerves of steel in the heat of a battle in the midst of his inner turmoil, scoring a last-minute penalty to force a draw with Rangers in front of a full house at Rugby Park and live television audience.
Naismith said: "I went on to a striker's version of automatic pilot for that one. All I could think of at the time was it was a chance for me to add another goal to my tally for the season, and thankfully I managed to score.
Manager Jefferies on the Rangers Post Match... "I know Rangers had a lot of great chances in the first half and were the better side, We changed it with a couple of players in the second half. I think the penalty was overdue because we had a couple of shouts before that and were unlucky on the first two occasions."
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