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Kilmarnock 0 Rangers 0: Caixinha's luck is out as Gers' hopes are dealt a blow

By Andy Newport

Rangers' hopes of rescuing second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership suffered another setback as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Kilmarnock.

Gers were hoping to pile the pressure on Aberdeen ahead of Sunday's trip to Pittodrie.

But the stalemate leaves them 12 points adrift of the Dons with just seven games remaining.

Yet new boss Pedro Caixinha will feel hard done by following his first away game in charge after seeing Joe Garner's header hit the bar and a handball from Conor Sammon go unpunished.

The point also does little for Killie's top-six ambitions.

Caixinha had taken the unusual step of naming his side a day early but with five defenders out - including skipper Lee Wallace - he had little choice but to go with an inexperienced back-line that included young debutants David Bates and Myles Beerman.

Bates had to overcome a nervy start when Kris Boyd chased down his first touch from the kick-off and only just recovered to avoid a nightmare opening to his Gers career, while Gary Dicker came close with a header.

Emerson Hyndman was teed up by the handy-looking Beerman for Gers' first attempt. There was plenty of power behind the American's strike but Freddie Woodman saved.

Having made three half-time substitutions during Saturday's draw with Motherwell, Caixinha was pressed into another this time as Hyndman failed to reappear for the second half, with Kenny Miller taking his place.

But the Gers continued to press, with two Barrie McKay corners causing problems.

From the first delivery, Woodman did brilliantly to push a Garner header onto the bar while the Ibrox men should have had a penalty when Sammon blatantly handled the ball from the next.

Yet Sammon should have put his team in front but the Irishman failed to get enough power on his header.

Martyn Waghorn's persistence nearly paid off but Woodman again did well to block and James Tavernier skied a late free-kick but Sean Longstaff missed the chance to snatch the points for Killie when he headed wide.

Kilmarnock: Woodman, Hendrie, Wilson, Ajer,Taylor, Dicker, Longstaff, Jones, Kiltie (Roberts 90), Sammon, Kris Boyd.

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates,Danny Wilson, Beerman, Holt, Halliday, Waghorn (Windass 81), Hyndman (Miller 46), McKay, Garner (Dodoo 73).

Referee: Alan Muir (Scotland).

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