Matchzone: Rangers (A)

Kilmarnock had hoped to kick off the new year in the perfect way with three points on the road – but it wasn’t to be.

The Ayrshire side travelled to Ibrox full of confidence after an impressive December, but it was Rangers who secured the victory heading into the winter break.

Ross McCausland and Abdallah Sima fired the hosts 2-0 ahead at half-time before Danny Armstrong scored from the penalty spot to reduce the deficit just before the hour mark.

Todd Cantwell then restored that lead a few minutes later to ensure it was Phillipe Clement’s men with the win.

Sima worked into the area in the fifth minute before firing a cross to Cyriel Dessers, but Stuart Findlay blocked well to clear the danger from the six-yard box.

Dessers had a good chance two minutes later when he received the ball inside the area before turning to shoot, but thankfully for the fully-stretched Will Dennis it was wide of the target.

Sima had a great chance in the 16th minute as he fired a powerful low shot at goal, but Dennis did well to get down and tip it round the post for a corner.

Killie were dealt an early blow as Liam Donnelly hobbled off with an injury, he was replaced by David Watson.

Kyle Vassell had a fantastic chance to fire the visitors in front as he ended up one-on-one with Jack Butland, but the Rangers No 1 stuck a boot out to save the captain’s shot.

Matty Kennedy fizzed a cross past the goal face in the 39th minute which required Connor Goldson to clear it out for a corner.

Two minutes later the hosts were in front as McCausland latched on to a through ball and calmly slotted past the oncoming Dennis.

As quick as it was one, it was two as Sima took the ball down inside the area before smashing home to send the hosts into half-time with a 2-0 lead.

Killie were awarded a penalty which was calmly converted by Armstrong in the 58th minute to pull Killie back within one goal.

But just three minutes later Todd Cantwell restored the two-goal lead with a finish from close range.

Cantwell looked to bag his brace in the 75th minute as he was in on goal, but Dennis stood tall and saved his effort well.

Dennis made another top save three minutes later when James Tavernier fired a free-kick on target, but the Killie stopper got down low to protect the goal.

Score: Rangers 3-1 Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock lineup: Dennis, Mayo, Wright, Findlay, Ndaba (Deas), Armstrong (Mackay-Steven), McKenzie, Donnelly (Watson), Polworth, Kennedy (Murray), Vassell (Watkins).

Attendance: 49250