Kilmarnock 0 Rangers 2 (De Boer 62, Arveladze 67 Pen)

Last updated : 08 February 2004 By Grandmaster Suck

Attendance 10,993

Alex McLeish made two changes from Thursday’s debacle
for one of the most crucial games in his managerial
career, Henning Berg and Nuno Capucho replacing Frank
De Boer (suffering from a calf injury) and Michael

With the doubtful pleasure of a trip to Celtic Park
awaiting the winners in the next round, the Light Blue
legions were out in force, comprising no fewer than
9,000 of the 10,993 spectators present, there being a
pathetic turnout of the home support.

A one-minute silence in memory of former Scotland
Manager Ally McLeod was impeccably observed prior to

Rangers – wearing all-white – had the ball in the net
in fifty seconds through Ronald De Boer from a Shota
Arveladze pass only for the goal to be disallowed for
offside on the say-so of a late linesman’s flag.

Having survived that scare the home side came back at
the Cup Holders with spirit and determination, Colin
Nish striking the crossbar in six minutes from a Gary
McSwegan cross, then sixty seconds later Eric Skora’s
curling effort from the edge of the box was held by
Stefan Klos.

Killie had the edge in pressure during the opening
stages – another McSwegan cross in 25 minutes being
headed wide by Martin Hardie.

Sixty seconds later Arveladze squandered a great
opportunity when a Christian Nerlinger corner found
the Georgian unmarked only to direct his header wide
of the target.

It was the visitors’ turn to strike woodwork in 29
minutes when De Boer’s header from a Capucho cross
struck the post, the Dutchman firing the rebound over
the bar.

Two minutes later it was the turn of Maurice Ross to
fire wildly over from a Mikel Arteta cross.

With the first-half ending goalless, there was a
certain nervousness about the ‘Gers fans, although
Arveladze came close to easing the tension in 49
minutes when his ferocious drive from a Fernando
Ricksen pass struck the underside of the crossbar.

Three minutes later the Georgian’s effort from a De
Boer pass whistled over from a De Boer knockdown.

The Rugby Park men were certainly not out of it
however – Gary McDonald’s shot from a McSwegan flick
being fisted away by Klos in 53 minutes.

Rangers had stepped up the pace, and finally broke the
deadlock in 62 minutes when a Michael Ball cross was
met at the near post by De Boer, rifling a shot into
the roof of the net. It was a trademark strike from
the Dutch Master, and a clear example of exactly what
the Light Blues have missed so badly this season.

With Paulo Vanoli and Egil Ostenstad substituting for
Mikel Arteta and Christian Nerlinger immediately
afterwards the Cup Holders went all out for the kill,
and five minutes later were presented with a golden
opportunity to clinch the game when Referee Dougie
McDonald awarded a penalty for Gordon Greer’s shove on
Arveladze as he raced onto a through ball.

After Thursday’s penalty fiasco, it was Shota himself
who stepped forward to net via an upright.

2-0 ahead, the tie appeared won, yet Killie might have
hit back almost instantaneously when McDonald found
himself clear from a Stephen Murray cross only to
shoot straight at Klos.

The Ayrshire men never gave up, and indeed came close
to reducing the deficit in 82 minutes when Eric
Skora’s cross-cum-shot was touched over by Klos.

Rangers nevertheless held out comfortably, and now
face a date with destiny at Celtic Park in four weeks

Manager Alex McLeish afterwards admitted:

“It’s been a tough week – the players have been under
a lot of pressure, yet showed great reserves of
character to come through today’s test. This has been
a frustrating season, but we want to finish on a high.
The Rangers’ fans turned out in force today to give
the players their backing. If we get all our players
back we will go to Celtic Park with confidence.”

KILMARNOCK Dubourdeau; Fowler, Greer, McLaughlin, Hay;
Invincible (Murray 67), Skora, McDonald (Boyd 70),
Locke (Dodds 19); McSwegan, Hardie

UNUSED SUBS Meldrum, Nish

RANGERS Klos; Ross, Moore, Berg, Ball; Ricksen, Arteta
(Vanoli 62), Nerlinger (Ostenstad 62), Arveladze; De
Boer, Capucho (Namouchi 88)
UNUSED SUBS McGregor, Khizanishvili

REFEREE Dougie McDonald