Scottish Cup 5th Rd Replay - February 16th 2016 - Rugby Park
Scottish Cup 5th Rd Replay - February 16th 2016 - Rugby Park
No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Waghorn (3 pen)
Jamie MacDonald, Lee Hodson, Conrad Balatoni, Stuart Findlay, Steven Smith (Lee Ashcroft), Gary Dicker, Craig Slater , Greg Kiltie , Rory McKenzie, Tope Obadeyi (Adam Frizzell 79), Josh Magennis.
Subs Not Used: Conor Brennan, Scott Robinson, Mark O'Hara, Dale Carrick, Kris Boyd.
David Shaw @ Rugby Park
All the pre-match talk from supporter groups was of how many Rangers supporters would be in the Killie end, since Killie had such a poor home support. Gers fans boasted of buying up hundreds of briefs for the Frank Beattie Stand, whilst Killie fans lamented on how they wouldn’t be protected from the police when mobs of bigots attacked them with pitchforks and burning bibles! Not surprisingly, none of this nonsense actually transpired.
Yes, some Gers fans sang about Irish dissidents, how great our noble queen still seems to be, and why every referee seems to have been brought up by nuns. And at times the din was truly deafening but I would take that any day over a handful of Inverness fans stuck in a corner playing with their mobile phones, or 5,000 Glasgow Warriors ‘fans’ munching on Philadelphia cheese croissants whilst discussing next week’s PTA meeting 'cos Scottish football is a tough sort of game - as we were to find out!
Over 4,000 vocal Killie supporters also contributed to the best atmosphere seen at this ground for many a long year! You couldn’t take your eye off the ball in a pulsating first half as every nerve in your body tingled with excitement, just waiting to explode once the net bulged with the first goal.
After only 3 minutes, thousands of Gers fans experienced that overwhelming joy as Martin Waghorn was fouled in the box by Stevie Smith. It looked a soft penalty as both players seemed to catch each other’s heels, but Waghorn had stolen a yard on Smith and contact was definitely made. Bizarrely, Waghorn brushed himself down to score from the spot before hobbling up the tunnel injured. He was replaced by Nicky Clark, who would later have a big say on the outcome of this game.
Killie responded sharply and Magennis had a shot go narrowly past. Kiltie, McKenzie and Tope began snapping at the heels of the Rangers midfield and after 7 minutes McKenzie drove forward and curled a delightful left footer beyond the diving Foderingham. Cue mass hysteria from the Killie faithful. Killie then continued to press their opponents up the field and a mistake from Dominic Ball allowed Magennis in on goal. Josh dithered slightly and as he was about to shoot on goal, Kiernan slid in and cleared the danger. Technically, it was a tackle from behind and should have been a penalty and red card, but not for the first time that night, referee Bobby Madden was miles away from the action and ignored the claim.
Madden’s night would get worse when a McKenzie flying tackle was ignored, much to the annoyance of the angry bears who began hollering abuse at the ref for the rest of the match. Steven Smith, who was an injury doubt before the match, then hobbled off to be replaced by Ashcroft – Findlay moving to left back. And with fifteen minutes till half time, Rangers began to take control of the match, but a Kenny Miller drive that sailed past the right hand post would be the closest they would come to regaining the lead.
The second half began with Rangers again dominating possession. Barry McKay was having a fantastic game on the left wing and Hodson was struggling to cope with his trickery. After beautifully chesting down a long through ball and volleying just past the post, Big Jig decided to switch Tope to the right wing to try and keep the young winger quiet - and it worked until Tope was eventually replaced by young Frizzell with only ten minutes left.
Killie were almost constantly camped in their own half by this time, and any breakaway was quickly dealt with by the Gers midfield, which was continually pushing forward in search of a winner. The closest Killie came to stealing a goal was when Hodson found himself in the box but his cross couldn’t reach the unmarked Magennis.
Then, deep into injury time, a McKay corner was steered home at the near post by Nicky Clark. The Rangers support erupted and the tie was over. Killie fans trudged for the exit in utter disappointment. It was a cruel hammer blow, but in all honesty we were well beaten by a side who were very impressive in the second half. Perhaps we stood off them too much, or maybe they were just too good for us – I suppose time will tell.
Best for Killie were MacDonald in goals, who made some outstanding saves, apart from one inexcusable decision to pick up a passback. And also young Lee Ashcroft – thrown into a huge match on the back of a few poor performances – he can hold his head proudly today after a super display at the heart of our defence. Best for Gers was McKay – what a prospect he is. He will probably go on to star in the English Championship for a bigger club like Brentford or Rotherham!
And so the excitement of the cup is over for another year. Our new manager was paraded in front of the support and it will be his job to bring further nights like this back to Rugby Park. We may have lost the match tonight – but football was surely the only real winner.
Lee McCulloch: "A lapse in concentration the first minute gave away a clear penalty. We showed great character to come back into the game. Usually this season, if we've gone one down, we collapse and lose four or five. We showed great character, scored a great goal then a lapse in concentration in the last minute has cost us. I think the last 25 minutes Rangers really dominated, created chances and probably overall deserve to go through. In the first hour of the game we were positive with the way we created chances. Rory McKenzie was brilliant, Tope was positive for the first hour and Kiltie was great as well. You’re depending on young boys. They can be inconsistent but the lads have been fabulous to work with, especially the last couple of weeks. The attitude is there, the desire is there and maybe just a lapse in concentration has cost us which is criminal in football. But that’s what happened in the first minute and the last minute. I’ve learned loads about myself. I’ve learned loads about the players. It’s something that I’ve really, really enjoyed. It’s good to have a bit of experience coming in with Lee Clark. He’ll have his own stamp to put on the way things work here and I’m going to support that in any way I can. [on Dundee next] We’ll take the last three performances which probably have been our best of the season and hopefully implement that into the game on Saturday. Lee’s got his own ideas, he didn’t get involved too much against Rangers but he did speak to the players. We will wait and see what changes Lee is going to bring as I don’t want to speak on behalf of him. But we have spoken about a couple of things and he will have his own ideas. I’m definitely excited for the rest of the season, I always see the positives."
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