Kilmarnock were robbed of a point at the death against Rangers, but there is plenty to be positive about after a spirited performance.
A last minute header secured the victory for Steven Gerrard’s men. Scott Arfield opened the scoring before Killie’s Stephen O’Donnell made it 1-1.
Connor Goldson climbed highest to seal the three points for the Govan side.
Regardless of the result, there is still plenty of things to smile about from a Kilmarnock perspective.
Pre-season fears eased by positive Kilmarnock opener
Some Killie fans were rightly quite nervous about the opener against Rangers. After losing to Connah’s Quay Nomads, this match would be a real test of their capability to perform under pressure.
To their credit they performed exceptionally. Angelo Alessio seems to have ironed out most of the flaws that were present in their Europa League defeat.
Alessio also got his tactics spot on. His team were set up to press Rangers, not letting them get comfortable on the ball. It limited the ability of Joe Aribo and Alfredo Morelos to great effect.
In the first half they took a bit of time to get going, but in the second half especially, Alessio’s men looked like the side that stormed into third place under Steve Clarke at times.
The bite in midfield was there and Killie impressed on the counter-attack. They were strong defensively overall, with two lapses in concentrations at set-pieces killing their chances of taking anything from the game.
Plenty to work on
Of course improvements are needed, especially in attacking areas. Alessio doesn’t really have anyone to turn to on the bench. If they can manage to bring in a couple of strikers, a winger and perhaps an attacking midfielder, they’ll have a strong squad.
That won’t be an easy task, but it’s certainly achievable with just under a month of the window left.
Compare this performance to their Nomads display. Killie were miles better than that wretched performance. Their opening league display is probably enough to convince many fans they’ll be okay this season.
This game was never going to be easy, but Kilmarnock can be proud of their efforts against Rangers.