In a truly mindblowing first six minutes, the champions scored THREE times to secure the silverware for a world record 54th time.

Kyle Lafferty’s double and Steven Naismith’s 15th strike of what has been an excellent campaign for him gave the Ibrox men a wonderful advantage at such an early stage.

Nikica Jelavic added a fourth after the break with a sublime free kick before Lafferty rounded off his second hat-trick of the campaign with a cool finish.

The triumph means boss Walter Smith bows out of his second spell at the helm in remarkable style.

This was his 10th league success and his 21st major honour overall – and it was arguably the sweetest of the lot.

Many Scottish football supporters are of the opinion they’ll be glad to see the back of this term after a host of unsavoury incidents both on and off the park in the last few months.

They may well have a point – but for the way Gers have acted with such dignity and control, their fans will rightly be proud of what they have achieved in that time.

They certainly lapped up the manner of this victory, which ensures new boss Ally McCoist will take his team into a new era under Craig Whyte with so much momentum.

The visitors, of course, arrived at Rugby Park knowing a win would guarantee them their third successive title and they didn’t look like they’d settle for anything less.

Outwith Nine in a Row, it would be the first time the club had achieved such a feat since 1936.

And having seen his men serve him so well lately, Smith once again stuck with the same starting XI.

It was the fourth successive match he had kept an unchanged team and his men served up the kind of start away fans wouldn’t even have allowed themselves to dream of.

Getting an early goal was crucial to settle nerves so it’s safe to say the way Rangers came storming out of the blocks so emphatically went down well with their large following.

Lafferty got the ball rolling with a terrific lobbed finish after just 47 seconds when Steven Davis played him in following good work by Jelavic to win possession.

That sparked euphoria all around the ground as supporters in each of the four stands erupted with delight – and it was only going to get better for them.

With four minutes gone Naismith made it 2-0 with a crisp finish at the place where he learned his trade as a youngster after starting the move and passing out wide.

Gregg Wylde then burst down the left and passed inside to the ex-Killie favourite, who took a touch and fired an unstoppable left-footed drive inside the far post from 18 yards.

And two minutes on it was three as Lafferty knocked his 14th club goal of 2010/11 into the net after good work once again by Jelavic.

The Ulsterman was promptly book for running towards fans in celebration but he won’t have cared about that one bit.

More than 80 minutes of joyous singing were to follow and in all honesty, the rest of the match was a mere sidenote.

The hard work had been done and the best part of 15,000 away fans were repeatedly reminding everyone about it.

Understandably, Gers’ tempo dropped and that gave Killie chances to get on the scoresheet themselves.

But Allan McGregor was in inspired form, saving from the likes of Craig Bryson, James Dayton and Mehdi Taouil to keep them out.

At the other end, Naismith nearly made it 4-0 after Davis and Whittaker combined to set him up but he glanced wide.

Davis also went close when he sent a curler past Cammy Bell and towards goal but it smacked off the keeper’s post and away to safety.

It was still 3-0 at the break but it wasn’t long before a fourth goal came and it was the best one yet from Jelavic.

The big Croatian was chopped down just outside the box and when he stepped up to take the free kick himself, he curled around the wall and into the top corner.

He too was booked by Craig Thomson as he ripped his shirt off and ran to fans but accepted it gracefully with a bow of acceptance to the official.

Moments later, Lafferty was to complete his treble as he went the long way around Tim Clancy to slot under Bell following a good surging run from Naismith.

The party was in full swing by now with everyone safe in the knowledge the league trophy would be staying in the Ibrox Trophy Room for another year.

The only thing that remained to be seen was whether Rangers could score again and Naismith did have the ball in the net again on the hour mark.

Sadly for him, Madjid Bougherra had strayed offside before he cut back as Whittaker played him down the right.

Killie eventually mustered a response as Dayton’s free kick from 30 yards deflected in off Maurice Edu to make it 5-1.

There was no question of a comeback being on though. This was to be Rangers’ day, Smith’s day.

Now he’ll retire safe in the knowledge he came back to his club, turned it around and, when it was on its knees, led it through its most successful spell since Nine in a Row.

For that, Ibrox fans will never be able to thank him enough. As a way to go out, this was as good as it could have got and it was a special way for him to bow out.

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