In the run up to the recent Scottish Cup tie against Kilmarnock at Ibrox, the media narrative was largely made up of the fact that the only other time Rangers had played Premiership opposition this season, against St Johnstone, we had come up short in a 1-3 home defeat. It begged the question as to how Rangers would handle a side who are struggling in the Premiership and had recently sacked their manager? Had the team learned any lessons from the St Johnstone defeat or would it be another "reality check" for Rangers when they come up against decent opposition? Well, it was indeed a reality check, but not in the way most people imagined.
The reality was that after a fairly tame first half, where both teams could have scored with Tavernier smacking the post and Kilmarnock’s Craig Slater smacking Foderingham with the ball full in the face from close range when it looked easier to score. Rangers settled down and completely dominated the second half. A tempting Tavernier free kick with no takers, a Halliday shot superbly turned round the post, a Wilson header crashing off the cross bar, Forrester's shot skewing wide and Waghorn's miscontrol after some superb wing play from McKay, were only some of the chances that on another day could have gone in and would have provided a truer reflection of the dominance of Rangers in the second half. The reality was that Mark Warburton's side can play against Premiership teams with no need to compromise their style of play, other than play a holding midfielder – a job ably done by Dominic Ball on the day. The reality was that this Rangers team were a better team than their Premiership opponents and had reduced them to "parking the bus" across the Copland Road end goalmouth.
However, another uncomfortable reality for Rangers fans is surely the fact that whatever the second half dominance, Rangers have it all to do again because of an inability to capitalise on the numerous chances created. Additionally, Kilmarnock showed they can defend in numbers and do themselves pose an occasional attacking threat. The game could easily have gone badly if Slater had found the net rather than Foderingham's face at the end of the first half. Rangers will have to be patient, defend well and be far more clinical in front of goal if we are to progress.
The prize is surely worth it though, with a home fixture against Dumbarton or Dundee awaiting. Given the recent Scottish Cup draw debacle which was broadcast live on Sky, I suppose we should be thankful we didn’t end up with Galatasaray away.
Written by cushynumber