|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
RANGERS recorded yet another home win and made it five clean sheets out of five against Kilmarnock this afternoon.
The Light Blues were in control throughout with Kemar Roofe netting on his starting debut and Ryan Kent grabbing his third of the season to secure the three points.
That fifth clean sheet at the start of a season beats the post-war record from 1949 of four, and equals the club’s all-time record set in in 1929 as the best defensive beginnings to a new campaign.
From the side which faced Livingston last Sunday, out went Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield, Ianis Hagi and Alfredo Morelos, with their places in the XI taken by Steven Davis, Brandon Barker, the aforementioned Roofe and Cedric Itten for a starting debut.
Gers made a bright start with Connor Goldson picking a searching ball into the box which Killie did well to smuggle away.
The returning Steven Davis made goalkeeper Danny Rogers work with a dipping shot from 20-yards that the keeper did well to hold onto, while Ryan Jack also tried his luck from outside the box with the ‘keeper again holding on.
Davis then looked to find Roofe with a ball over the top, and while Stuart Findlay cleared the chance, the ball dropped at the feet of Cedric Itten, who shot just over.
Brandon Barker was next to strike from 25-yards with a wicked shot Rogers again did well to grasp, while Ryan Kent was looking lively, and Rogers denied him by racing off his line to block as Fil Helander played a good ball over the top looking for the winger.
Kent then came to life again with some sensational skill on the edge of the area to turn Chris Burke inside and out before firing for the top corner with Rogers making a stunning, one-handed save to turn the winger’s effort over the bar.
Fil Helander was next to come close, heading a super Borna Barisic corner over the bar at the front post but goalless is how it remained at the interval despite the Light Blues’ best efforts.
Ryan Kent opened the second half with a drive into the arms of Rogers from out on the left, while Cedric Itten stooped low to head a James Tavernier ball into the path of Roofe, but Killie had men back to get in his way.
It was a lightning start to the second half from the home side, and Roofe headed a sublime Barisic cross against the post, before Tavernier worked Rogers yet again, this time with a clever effort with the outside of his boot.
The goal really did feel like it was coming, and it duly arrived on 50 minutes – and it was Kemar Roofe with his first goal in the famous blue jersey!
The ball reached Barisic again out on the left following some incessant Gers pressure, and he fired it low and hard into the area with Roofe getting on the end of it six-yards from goal with a clever finish across Rogers.
It was the very least the home side deserved, particularly given their start to the second half, and they very quickly set about the task to get a second.
Another super Barker effort had Rogers scrambling to turn the ball behind, while Itten had a shot cleared wide on the end of a brilliant Barker backheel.
From the resulting corner, Helander shot a loose ball wide, but Gers continued to threaten and finally made it two on 77 minutes.
Brandon Barker charged away down the left and his cutback found the incoming James Tavernier at the back post.
Aaron Tshibola blocked the skipper’s initial effort, but the ball came back to him to slide left for Ryan Kent to blast home from 14-yards.
It handed the home side the cushion they desired, and was just reward for another fine individual performance from Kent, this being his third goal of the campaign already.
A late flurry of subs included Nathan Patterson coming on to make his league debut for the club having made his European debut at the start of the month against Bayer Leverkusen, while Scott Arfield came on for his 100th appearance.
Indeed, super Patterson play set-up Greg Stewart in injury time, but he was denied the third by a fine block on the line.
It’s on then to Hamilton in a week’s time in the final Premiership match before the international break.
RANGERS: McLaughlin; Tavernier (Patterson, 86), Helander, Goldson, Barisic; Jack, Davis (Kamara, 84); Kent (Hagi, 86), Roofe (Arfield, 79) Barker (Stewart. 86); Itten. SUBS NOT USED: McGregor, Bassey, Edmundson, Murphy.
KILMARNOCK: Rogers, McGowan, Haunstrup (Kiltie, 74), Broadfoot, Power, Dicker (Pinnock, 74), Brophy (Kabamba, 64), Findlay, Waters, Tshibola, Burke.
SUBS NOT USED: Doyle, Dikamona, Whitehall, Rossi, Cameron.