Rangers could only narrow the gap to Scottish Premiership leaders to seven points after being held at home by Kilmarnock – their fourth game in a row without a win.

Substitute Conor McAleny pounced on a long ball through the heart of the home defence to put the visitors ahead.

Daniel Bachmann denied Steven Davis in a first half during which the hosts had plenty possession but few chances.

But Rangers drew level with ’s second-half strike.

It was the striker’s 29th of the season, with nine of them coming against Kilmarnock.

But the visitors, who remain a point behind Aberdeen in fourth, will be pleased to have improved on their 5-0 Scottish Cup hammering at Ibrox last month.

Another frustrating day for Rangers

’s side had undergone their own post-cup soul-searching after their midweek quarter-final defeat at home against Aberdeen.

With seemingly heading for another title, Gerrard’s side are likely to end the season without silverware and the manager was forced on the defensive, pleading for more time to build a side that can challenge for honours.

He also responded by dropping Borna Barisic and from his defence, while Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield were absent from midfield through injury – changes that proved significant.

Nikola Katic had not partnered at the heart of the defence this year and they were caught out early on as Eamonn Brophy stole in to fire wastefully into the side netting. To add to the forward’s misery, it signalled an end to his game with a hamstring injury, but McAleny was to prove an able replacement.

In the visitors’ next rare foray forward, Gary Dicker’s long chip forward found the on-loan Fleetwood Town striker ghosting between Goldson and Katic to round Allan McGregor and slot into the unguarded net. His cause was helped somewhat by the goalkeeper, who this week announced the end to his Scotland career, inexplicably wandering into no-man’s land.

Davis has found it tough to pin down a starting place since returning to Rangers on loan from , but the veteran midfielder’s drive that forced Bachmann to parry over the crossbar was the only time the home side seriously threatened the visiting goalkeeper until Gerrard’s half-time changes.

The introduction of Barisic and former Osijek team-mate Eros Grezda brought new urgency to Rangers and, shortly after Jermain Defoe became their third substitution, they drew level. Morelos overpowered Stuart Findlay on the turn before firing powerfully past Bachmann.

It proved not to be enough to avoid another frustrating day for Rangers in front of their own fans, exemplified by Morelos having a shoving match with former Ibrox defender Kirk Broadfoot at half-time.

And it could have been worse. Goldson was fortunate to escape with a yellow card for a cynical trip on substitute Liam Miller in the dying seconds that resulted in a Chris Burke free-kick that flew dangerously across the face of the home goal.

Kilmarnock's Conor McAleny scores against Rangers

‘We’re too reliant on Alfredo’ – reaction

Rangers manager on Rangers TV: “If you take their goal out of it, it was nearly a good performance, but nearly is not good enough at Rangers.

“But I can’t fault the players’ application and we came close to building on Alfredo’s goal. He took his goal really well, but we’re over-reliant on him and it’s my job to try to fix that.”

Line-ups

Rangers

  • 1McGregorBooked at 24mins
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6GoldsonBooked at 90mins
  • 19Katic
  • 16HallidaySubstituted forBarisicat 45′minutes
  • 23CoulibalySubstituted forDefoeat 64′minutes
  • 18Kamara
  • 10Davis
  • 21CandeiasSubstituted forGrezdaat 45′minutes
  • 20Morelos
  • 14Kent

Substitutes

  • 3Worrall
  • 9Defoe
  • 11Lafferty
  • 13Foderingham
  • 17McCrorie
  • 31Barisic
  • 35Grezda

Kilmarnock

  • 26Bachmann
  • 2O’DonnellBooked at 73mins
  • 5Broadfoot
  • 17FindlayBooked at 81mins
  • 3Taylor
  • 8Dicker
  • 6PowerBooked at 60minsSubstituted forMillarat 72′minutes
  • 29Burke
  • 24MulumbuBooked at 57minsSubstituted forTshibolaat 69′minutes
  • 7McKenzie
  • 25BrophySubstituted forMcAlenyat 5′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1MacDonald
  • 4Bruce
  • 9Boyd
  • 15McAleny
  • 19Millar
  • 22Millen
  • 27Tshibola
Referee:
Greg Aitken
Attendance:
49,527

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home9
Away2
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home5
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Rangers 1, Kilmarnock 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Rangers 1, Kilmarnock 1.

Booking

(Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Conor McAleny (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Eros Grezda (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Aaron Tshibola (Kilmarnock).

Jermain Defoe (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).

Attempt missed. Eros Grezda (Rangers) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Nikola Katic.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Nikola Katic.

Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Eros Grezda (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock).

Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Stephen O’Donnell (Kilmarnock).

Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).

Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Stuart Findlay.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Stephen O’Donnell.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Stuart Findlay.

Booking

Stephen O’Donnell (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Liam Millar replaces Alan Power because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Aaron Tshibola replaces Youssouf Mulumbu.

Goal!

Goal! Rangers 1, Kilmarnock 1. (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by James Tavernier.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Jermain Defoe replaces Lassana Coulibaly.

Booking

Alan Power (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

(Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alan Power (Kilmarnock).

Booking

Youssouf Mulumbu (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Youssouf Mulumbu (Kilmarnock).

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Borna Barisic replaces Andy Halliday.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Eros Grezda replaces Daniel Candeias.

goal

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