Walter Smith exorcised the demons that haunted him from his final season first time round at Ibrox as he signs off with a League and Cup double in his final season in his second spell at Rangers. Goals from Steven Naismith, Nikica Jelavic and a hat trick from Kyle Lafferty sealed all three points for Walter Smith’s side and with that the SPL Championship, one point ahead of rivals Celtic, securing the Ibrox side’s third SPL title in a row.
Rangers took the lead after just 47 seconds, Steven Davis released Kyle Lafferty who lobbed the ball over Killie keeper Cammy Bell and into the back of the net. And they were celebrating once again with five minutes gone. Gregg Wylde played a through ball to Steven Naismith, who took one touch before striking his shot home.
A supporter managed to get onto the pitch at this point, but he was quickly collared by police and stewards. An incident that will see Kilmarnock fined.
Rangers extended their lead two minutes later when Jelavic set up Lafferty to side foot past Bell and score his second of the game.
Davis then saw his superb strike hit the post, before McGregor was called into action just before half time as he denied Craig Bryson.
And within ten minutes of the restart they had finished off the scoring. On 49 minutes Jelavis was felled just outside the box by Manuel Pascali and he took the resulting free kick himself, sending a swerving shot into the top corner.
Four minutes later Lafferty had scored his third of the game. Naismith went on a surging run before sending a pass into the path of Lafferty who stroked home claiming his hat trick.
On 65 minutes Kilmarnock pulled a goal back, when Dayton’s free kick was deflected off the wall and in off the post. But it was merely a consolation.
Rangers hit the crossbar again through Naismith, before Lafferty fired the rebound over the bar.
At the Final Whistle, Rugby Park erupted in celebration as the result confirmed their third successive title in a row.
Walter Smith said after winning his third title in a row: “It’s for the club, it’s not for me. When you make a decision to leave, that’s it, everything that you do is for the club, they have played well, particularly in this last lot of games. I set them a challenge not to lose in the last 10 games and they have completed that. I’m just delighted that Rangers have managed to win. It’s fantastic, every one of our players has been brilliant, they deserve it and have played exceptionally well. We couldn’t have wished for a better start, it was just a brilliant way to start.”
“Kyle Lafferty has been doing exceptionally well for us this season and I’m delighted for him that he’s managed to get a hat-trick. But I’m delighted for the whole team and that they’ve managed to win.”
The title win means Walter Smith signs off with 10 championships, and a total of 21 trophies, over his two spells at the Ibrox helm, now making way for Ally McCoist to take over the manager’s job.