Rangers started the new domestic season with a win as goals from Scott Arfield and a last-minute winner from Connor Goldson saw off Angelo Alessio’s Kilmarnock.
Story of the match
The visitors started brightly with Alfredo Morelos forcing Laurentiu Branescu into action at his near post eight minutes into proceedings.
Ultimately, though, it took Steven Gerrard's Gers just a quarter of an hour to get off the mark for the season as Arfield reacted quickest to prod the ball home after Nikola Katic's header had been saved by Branescu.
The closest Kilmarnock came to drawing level before half time was via Eamonn Brophy, but the Scotland international saw his effort from a tight angle comfortably saved by Wes Foderingham.
The second 45 started evenly, but the hosts should have been level ten minutes in but Brophy got the ball caught beneath his feet at the back post with the goal gaping.
This scare rejuvenated the Ibrox outfit and summer signing Joe Aribo forced Branescu into yet another save with a sweet strike from the edge of the box.
With both sides continuing to push for the next goal, the game became increasingly stretched as the match progressed and it was the home side who found a goal as Stephen O’Donnell found the roof of the net at the back post.
Aribo came close to a winner in the final minute only to be denied by Branescu once again. The Romanian stopper exhibited excellent agility to claw the ball away from the top corner, much to the ex-Charlton forward’s dismay.
The on-loan Juventus keeper was powerless to prevent Goldson’s stoppage-time winner. The centre-back got on the end of James Tavernier’s cross to power the ball home, to the delight of the travelling faithful.
Takeaways from the match
Morelos not worth the hassle
Colombian forward Alfredo Morelos has been linked with a move to China throughout the summer and he did little to justify his selection on Sunday afternoon.
Whilst he struggled for service, he did little with the half-chances he was afforded, and with Joe Aribo and Jermain Defoe both available to Gerrard, it may be worth cashing in on the South American hothead.
Rangers prepared to grind out wins
Steven Gerrard’s side took the lead on both their visits to Rugby Park in 2018/19 but lost on both occasions and it looked set to be another disappointing visit when the hosts pulled level with less than 20 minutes remaining.
However, Gerrard’s men were able to dig deep and find a winner where they perhaps would have failed to last season.
Man of the match - Laurentiu Branescu
Despite the defeat, the scoreline could have been a lot worse for Kilmarnock if it had not been for on-loan Juventus stopper Branescu.
The Romanian made a string of exceptional saves to keep the score down and looked to have earned his side a point before Goldson’s agonising late winner.