Rangers 4-0 Kilmarnock | 11/05/2003
RANGERS have played in many classic matches through the years and in this new series of features we’ll remember some of the best from through the years.
THERE cannot be many occasions that Ibrox has emptied after a 4-0 home victory to a soundtrack of disgruntled voices lamenting the fact that the team hadn’t scored more goals.
Then again, there weren’t many occasions in the recent history of Scottish football like the end of season 2002/03.
With three games to go, Rangers and Celtic remained neck and neck at the top of the SPL with only goal difference to separate them.
The impetus seemed to be slipping from Alex McLeish’s men as they stumbled from pole position following defeats to the Parkhead side and then a dramatic draw against Dundee at Dens Park.
The vultures therefore were circling when Kilmarnock came to Ibrox for the third last game of the season but they would go home hungry.
Dutchman Michael Mols scored twice in the game and reflects upon the importance of the moment.
He said: “That Killie game was such a crucial one. We had to win it and win it well after slipping up in our previous matches.
“We lost out to Celtic in the Old Firm game and then we could only draw with Dundee so victory was absolutely essential.
“I felt particularly good in that match but I think everybody did a good job. We all knew the importance of the match
“The thing was, we were not really happy with the 4-0 scoreline when we left the field because we knew we could have won by more as we created so many chances.
“It’s strange to say that because if we were offered the result before the game we would have taken it but we were not totally satisfied with just four goals. We missed a few chances and that could really have helped our goal difference.
”Goals meant everything at that stage of the season because we were neck and neck with Celtic on points.
“We then had to go on and play Hearts at Tynecastle with massive pressure but we came up trumps there by winning 2-0.
“It meant that we went into the final day with a slight advantage on Celtic and we managed to finish the job in style.”
Rangers, fired up and looking menacing in every attack, could have been four up within the opening 10 minutes.
Ronald de Boer blazed a shot over the crossbar within a minute but four minutes later Michael Mols made amends after latching on to Mikel Arteta’s pass and slipping the ball beyond Gordon Marshall.
A minute later and the Dutchman had his and Rangers’ second when he lobbed into an empty net after Marshall and de Boer had contested a long ball on the edge of the Kilmarnock penalty box.
Mols then missed a chance for his hat-trick when the ball got stuck under his feet before Lorenzo Amoruso was wasteful with two free kicks from decent range.
Rangers knew every goal could be vital and they peppered the Killie goal and Arteta hit the post before Barry Ferguson slid two decent chances wide.
The second half offered more of the same. Amoruso headed over before Shota Arveladze belatedly extended Gers’ lead with a wondrously venomous shot that screamed into the corner of Marshall’s net.
Stephen Hughes struck the crossbar before Claudio Caniggia rounded off the scoring in the final minute.
McLeish noted: “There were great performances from right back all the way through the team and the only reason I haven’t mentioned Stefan Klos is because he had nothing to do.
“The players hit it right on the button with just two league games to go in the league. They picked exactly the right moment to find top form.”
The doubters had no need to worry. A 2-0 win away to Hearts followed by a 6-1 home win over Dunfermline on the final day of the season was enough to earn Rangers their 50th title.
RANGERS: Klos, Ricksen, Moore, Amoruso, Numan, Arteta, Ferguson, Hughes, de Boer (McCann), Mols (Caniggia), Lovenkrands (Arveladze)
KILMARNOCK: Marshall, Shields, McLaughlin, Dindeleux, Fowler, Canero, Fulton (McDonald), Mahood, di Giacomo, McLaren (Boyd), McSwegan (Locke)
Also happening around that time:
- Loneliness by Tomcraft was Number One in the charts
- Singer June Carter – wife of Johnny Cash – died
- X-Men II was a box-office smash in the cinemas
- England recorded a seven-wicket victory in their first-ever Test match against Bangladesh
- Mark Williams beat Ken Doherty in the final of the World Snooker Championships
Rangers 4-0 Kilmarnock
Goals: Mols 6′ 7′, Arveladze 59′, Caniggia 80′
Manager: Alex McLeish
Ronald de Boer