RANGERS came from behind to defeat Kilmarnock at Rugby Park tonight and maintain their two point lead over Celtic at the top of the cinch Premiership table thanks to second half goals from James Tavernier and Tom Lawrence.

The Ibrox club appeared to be in serious danger of surrendering first place in the league table to their city rivals at half-time at the venue they had lost at on the opening day of the season back in August.

Philippe Clement’s side had fallen behind to a Danny Armstrong penalty in the first half after John Lundstram had handled in his own area and did, having acquitted themselves poorly, not look capable of getting back on level terms never mind winning.

However, whatever Clement, who put on Ridvan Yilmaz for Borna Barisic and Cyriel Dessers for Fabio Silva at the start of the second half, said to his charges in the dressing room clearly had the desired impact.

Tavernier equalised in the 55th minute – and became the joint highest scoring defender in Rangers history at the same time - when he curled in a spectacular free-kick following a Lewis Mayo foul on Lawrence.

The captain and right back has now netted on 121 occasions for the Glasgow giants – the same number as his legendary predecessor John Greig.

Lawrence showed that he knows how to finish four minutes later when he pounced on a loose ball and drilled into the bottom right corner of the net. It was the first time the playmaker had been on target since the August of 2022 and was a sweet moment for him.

Here are five talking points from the encounter.


This was another serious test of Rangers’ title credentials. Kilmarnock went into the match with 100 per cent record against the Old Firm clubs on their plastic pitch this season having beaten them once and Celtic twice. They had also lost just one of their previous 14 outings.

Derek McInnes’s side made life very difficult indeed for their opponents and had a few opportunities to forge two in front. They showed why they have been one of the form teams in the country and have aspirations of catching and leapfrogging Hearts and finishing third.  

But Clement’s men showed great heart to fight back and claim all three points. They will need to exhibit the same character in the final 10 league games of the 2023/24 campaign if they are to lift the trophy come May. But this gutsy showing augurs well for the run-in.


Clement has shown that he is not afraid to freshen up his side since arriving in this country last year and with a hectic schedule of domestic and European fixtures coming up in the weeks ahead it was no surprise he rang the changes.

Yilmaz, Dujon Sterling and Dessers had all started against Hearts in Govan on Saturday – but they were replaced at left back, right wing and striker by Barisic, Ross McCausland and Fabio respectively.  

Silva and Dessers have been rotated on a weekly basis since the former joined on loan from Wolves last month so that switch was expected.

However, this was an opportunity for Barisic and McCausland to show their manager what they have to offer ahead of the first leg of the Europa League last 16 double header with Benfica in Portugal next week.

McCausland started impressively by skinning Stuart Findlay early on, bursting into the Kilmarnock penalty area and teeing up Silva for a shot. But Barisic gave away a free-kick in a dangerous area near the corner flag shortly after that for a needless hand ball. He then picked up a booking for a foul on Armstrong.

It was no surprise when he failed to reappear for the second half and Yilmaz took his place. The Turkish internationalist did not, though, do an awful lot better. He sliced an attempted cross out of the park for a goal kick. McCausland was substituted for Sterling as well after drifting out of the game. The duo failed to take their chance.    


Lundstram could have no complaints about the penalty being awarded against him in the first half. The midfielder blatantly handled an Armstrong cross into the Rangers penalty box with his outstretched arm. Referee David Dickinson had no hesitation pointing to the spot and he was absolutely correct.

The match official’s VAR colleague Andrew Dallas did his obligatory check back at Clydesdale House. But there was really no need for him to do so. It was refreshing to see a major decision being arrived at so quickly and underlined that the use of new technology is not always necessary.


The Ivorian winger has impressed onlookers greatly since completing a £4.5m move to Rangers from Nordsjaelland in Denmark during the January transfer window.

He opened his account for his new club with a long-range screamer against St Johnstone earlier this month and broke the deadlock against Hearts at the weekend with an almost identical strike. His all-round play has been good too.

The 22-year-old retained his place alongside Lundstram this evening. But he, like so many of his team mates, struggled to impose himself on proceedings in the opening 45 minutes. Or, for that matter, to cope with the physicality of the Kilmarnock side.

He almost gifted the home side a second six minutes before half-time when he lost possession in his own half and allowed Polworth to burst through. He was fortunate that goalkeeper Jack Butland got off his line quickly and beat the midfielder to the ball.


Rangers created some excellent chances in the first half and could easily have taken the lead when the scoreline was level or equalised after they had fallen behind. Unfortunately for them, Kilmarnock goalkeeper Will Dennis was in inspired form.

He palmed a powerful Connor Goldson header out for a corner at a Tavernier corner early on and then pushed a low shot Oscar Cortes shot past his left post. Those saves proved to be crucial for his side at the time.

The Bournemouth loanee got a hand to Tavernier’s sensational free-kick . But failing to keep out the Rangers captain’s stunning effort was no disgrace. Nor could he be blamed for allowing Lawrence’s strike to find the target.  

Dennis’s opposite number Butland also did superbly to deny Matty Kennedy when the midfielder tested him from close range when the score was 1-0.