MARTYN Waghorn scored a 90th minute winner, to make amends for a missed penalty a minute earlier, as Rangers snatched a win against Queen of the South.
The striker blemished his immaculate record from the spot but popped up seconds later to steal all three points for his side with an excellent header.
It had looked like Mark Warburton’s side would lose their winning record in the Championship but Waghorn rescued the game with his 15th goal of the season.
Gers went behind ten minutes before the break and Jason Holt grabbed an equaliser early into the second-half to start a tirade towards goal for the remainder of the game.
The result leaves Rangers 11 points clear at the top of the table and still with a full complement of points from their opening 10 fixtures.
It was a steady but sure start for Rangers as they felt their way into the game and it was all Mark Warburton’s side in the opening exchanges.
On 12 minutes Gers had their first sturdy chance to score – Barrie McKay tearing to the by-line and shrugging off Kyle Jacobs as the referee waved play on. It was Kenny Miller waiting on the edge of the six-yard box, as he squared the ball in, but the striker blazed over to squander his effort.
Against the run of play Queens’ had their own chance five minutes later. Alex Harris skipped into the box from the left after a good run and he tried to sneak his shot in at the far post but it bounced just wide.
With 24 minutes gone former Wigan boys James Tavernier and Martyn Waghorn linked up impeccably but a goal couldn’t come of it. The right-back backed heeled a cute ball into the path of the in form forward and he took up the shot from an angle on the right. His curled effort stung the palms of Robbie Thomson as he stood strong to nudge it clear.
The captain was next to try his luck with half an hour of the game ticking onto the clock. From outside the area Lee Wallace launched a pile driver at goal, but Thomson got down quick enough to scoop the ball up.
While Rangers were creating plenty they weren’t making the chances count and then the defence stood off Ryan Conroy to allow him to run at them and take a shot. Rob Kiernan was forced to throw himself into the path of it and concede, what would prove to be, a deadly corner.
Conroy turned provider as he took the set piece on 35 minutes and Derek Lyle made the Light Blues rue those missed moments. The corner was whipped in and Lyle was lurking to head into the turf and send the ball bouncing past Wes Foderingham to open the scoring. It was the visitors only attempt on target in the opening period but they made it count. Ironically, considering the nature of his goal, Lyle had been missing for a chunk of the half as he went to have a head injury stitched in the dressing room.
With three minutes of the second-half played Tavernier flashed a free-kick across the front of goal. It edged just wide of the far post as Rangers looked to peg one back early on.
And just a couple of minutes later it was only the quick reactions of Thomson that denied Waghorn. Jason Holt played a ball into Wallace in the box and the skipper laid it off to the 14 goal man. He pinged the ball goalwards but somehow the keeper repositioned himself to punch it clear.
On 53 minutes Rangers had their goal, Holt sending the ball nestling into the bottom corner from an acute angle. Tavernier threaded it into him and as he latched onto the ball the diminutive middleman turned him body to stroke it home with his right foot.
McKay should have made it two moments later as he fired over with the goal gaping. Miller had curled a cross to him at the back post and all the 20-year-old needed to do was guide it home. And as he put his head into his hands the frustration was shared by the 44,133 fans in Ibrox.
Waghorn went close again on 57 minutes as he reacted to Wallace’s blocked shot first. He should have probably taken it first time but elected to take a touch and try and place the ball into the top corner but sent it too high. And then Holt had an effort that came within a breath of the left post.
Substitute Liam Coogans shot clear of the Gers backline, to spring the offside trap, with 15 minutes left to play. He found himself one-on-one with Foderingham but the keeper went to ground to save the right-footed shot with little problem.
With 88 minutes played Halliday was hauled down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. The ever reliable Waghorn stepped up but he blazed his kick at Thomson who guessed which way he would send it.
It looked like Rangers’ luck wasn’t in but the striker was determined to make amends and popped up with a superb header to steal the points at the death. Nathan Oduwa had whipped a ball in from the left and the striker glanced his head against it at the near post to send the net fluttering.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Ball, Wallace, Holt, Halliday, Shiels (Law 57’), Miller (Oduwa 57’), Waghorn, McKay (Clark 75’)
Subs not used: Kelly, Aird, Hardie, Thompson
Goals: Holt 53’, Waghorn 90’
Yellows: Halliday 48’
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Thomson, Higgins, Harris (Rutherford 87’), Lyle (Oliver 65’), Conroy, Jacobs, Hutton, Pickard, Hooper, Marshall, Smith (Coogans 69’)
Subs not used: Atkinson, Heffernan, Moxon, Hilson
Goals: Lyle 35’
Yellows: Pickard 38’, Jacobs 48’, Hooper 68’