KILMARNOCK held Rangers to a frustrating draw at Ibrox Stadium this evening.
After going ahead early-on through Alfredo Morelos, the lead was soon wiped-out with Greg Stewart leveling matters for the Ayrshire club.
With the words of boss Gerrard from both after the game on Sunday and also during the week seemingly ringing in the ears of the players, Gers made an very positive start to the match.
On what was a sodden evening on the Southside, the home side used that to their advantage, knocking the ball about with real purpose on the slick turf, while they looked to pressure and harry Killie at every given opportunity.
A ball dropped into the back post for Alfredo Morelos was smuggled out of play by Kirk Broadfoot, but the little Colombian needed wait just nine minutes for the opening goal.
Referee Nick Walsh played a good advantage after a foul on Daniel Candeias in his own half for Scott Arfield to pick the ball up and drive forward.
He fed the ball inside for Ryan Kent, who, in-turn, sprayed the ball wide for Morelos. He still had Kirk Broadfoot in front of him, but he went for goal and with the aid of a deflection off the former Ibrox man, found the back of the net.
The lead, however, was to last just five minutes. Gers failed to clear the ball sufficiently when they had the chance, and allowed it to drop onto the left foot of Greg Stewart out to the right of Wes Foderingham’s goal, and he curled a beautiful effort into the top corner.
The home side responded with Kent testing McDonald from distance with a decent effort while Candeias had a volley cleared wide from an Andy Halliday corner. From the resultant corner from that, Connor Goldson had an effort blocked on the line while Jamie MacDonald was alert to save the rebound from Joe Worrall.
A ridiculous 40-yard effort from Steven O’Donnell only just whistled over the top of the bar as Killie looked to take the lead while James Tavernier hit the top of the bar from half the distance as half-time approached.
The interval saw Gerrard replace Jon Flanagan with Ryan Jack, and the home side created the first opportunity of the new period, with Morelos testing MacDonald from distance with a dipping effort.
Andy Halliday, who had been moved to left-back in place of Flanagan, then had a pair of efforts from a central position firstly over the bar and then well-saved by MacDonald.
A mix-up in the Killie defence presented the ball straight to Arfield inside the six-yard box, albeit from a tight angle, and he couldn’t find the target with his first-time shot.
The pressure was rising around the hour mark, with Kent having an effort deflected wide while Macdonald had to claw a Goldson header away from under his bar.
Yet another Kent effort from distance was tipped round the post by the increasingly busy MacDonald, while a superb bicycle kick from sub Kyle Lafferty off a Morelos knock-down went narrowly wide.
In injury-time, a mazy run forward by Stewart was only ended by a last-ditch Wes Foderingham intervention
RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Flanagan (Jack, 45); Halliday, Coulibaly (Middleton, 56) Arfield; Kent, Candeias (Lafferty, 71), Morelos.
SUBS: McGregor, Rossiter, Katic, Grezda.
KILMARNOCK: MacDonald; O’Donnell (McKenzie, 89), Taylor, Broadfoot, Power, Dicker, Jones (Enobakhare, 73), Findlay, Stewart, Tshibola, Burke (Ndjoli, 73).
SUBS: Bachmann, K Boyd, McKenzie, Byrne, S Boyd.
REFEREE: Nick Walsh