A stunning Steven Naismith strike on 53 minutes was enough to give Jim Jefferies side a rare win against the Light Blues but it was a disappointing display of football for both sets of fans to endure although the travelling Killie support would not have been complaining after referee Iain Brines final whistle.
Remarkably, this was the first-time Jefferies’ had beaten either half of the Old Firm in his time in the Rugby Park hotseat and it was the Ayrshire side’s first win at Ibrox since October 2000.
More importantly, it secured them fifth place in the SPL this season with one game still to go.
Smith conceded that Killie deserved all three points in his post-match press conference but his frustration at his own side’s performance on the day was evident.
He said: “I am disappointed with the performance and we didn’t deserve any more than we got,” he said.
“Last week Gordon Strachan said that his team played testimonial football and we did the same against Killie.
“It is the first time since we have been back at the club that we have not had an edge to our game and we had very few attempts on goal.
“We can’t argue about the result due to the manner in which we played.”
Injury robbed Dado Prso and Stefan Klos of a farewell appearance but both players, along with Gavin Rae, were given an emotional send off from the fans and a guard of honour from their teammates at the end of the game.
Smith made just one change to the side that defeated Celtic 2-0 on May 5 with Ian Murray deputising for the suspended Alan Hutton.
Youngsters Andrew Shinnie, Steven Lennon and Jordan McMillan were also on the bench alongside Karl Svensson, Lee Robinson and Chris Burke.
The match began after a minute silence for Gers’ legend Kai Johansen, who sadly passed away after his lengthy fight with cancer, but the opening stages did little to lift the spirits of the home support on a bitterly cold afternoon in Glasgow.
Both sides seemed to be quite content on retaining possession and there was a distinct lack of quality in the final third of the pitch at both ends.
Rangers were given an early scare when Steven Naismith, who has been linked with a move to Ibrox, sprinted behind the Gers’ defence but Allan McGregor dashed from his penalty to clear despite slipping momentarily on the turf.
The home side’s first opportunity came on nine minutes when Davie Weir found Nacho Novo in the box. The Spaniard chested the ball brilliantly but he was deemed to be offside after his close range shot had been well saved by Alan Combe.
Novo’s pace was proving a problem for the Killie backline and when Adam fed the ball through to Nacho he looked certain to score. Ryan O’Leary, however, sprinted back to produce a superb last-gasp block which denied the Gers’ no. 10.
A sense of frustration was creeping into the atmosphere around the stadium due to the lack of quality on show in the opening half-hour and Ally McCoist spent almost the entire half trying to gee up his players in this end of season encounter.
A Charlie Adam shot which flew into the Broomloan Road Stand on 32 minutes was as good as it was to get and the first-half was to end with neither team making a notable impression.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon was to come during the interval when the club’s double-winning under-19s paraded the League Championship and SFA Youth Cup trophies and the boys clearly enjoyed strolling around the packed stadium holding aloft both pieces of silverware.
Smith made one change for the restart with Chris Burke replacing Brahim Hemdani which allowed Novo to move in to attack alongside Boyd in a 4-4-2 formation.
And the flame-haired winger almost made an immediate impact within six minutes.
Ugo Ehiogu played a terrific pass to Novo on the right wing and the Spaniard spun his marker before feeding the ball to Burke who had sprinted into the 18-yard box.
His initially touch was perfect but the shot that followed flew across goal and inches wide of Combe’s far post.
This was to be a costly miss as Killie were took a surprise lead on 53 minutes.
Grant Murray crossed from the right and Naismith smashed home a stunning half-volley which gave Allan McGregor no chance.
Rangers tried to get back into the match immediately but the Killie backline remained watertight and at the hour mark they had retained their slender advantage.
The manager had clearly seen enough at this stage and elected to add a bit of youthful exuberance to the game by giving under-19 striker Steven Lennon his second first-team appearance in place of Novo on 63 minutes.
The youngster, who has been prolific for Billy Kirkwood’s team as they clinched the Championship, almost marked his home debut with a goal when he turned swiftly in the box with his back to goal and fired a left-foot drive which was well saved by Combe.
Lennon again looked sharp in the 81st minute when he tried his luck with a powerful right-foot shot from 18-yards but the Killie keeper again came to the rescue.
His under-19 teammate Andrew Shinnie was also given a run-out late in the second-half in place of Ian Murray but the attacking midfielder did not have enough time to show his undoubted potential.
A late flurry from Rangers did not result in a goal and Killie were to hold on to record a rare victory in Glasgow.