Kilmarnock deserved victory over Rangers, says Steve Clarke
Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke said his players deserved their victory after coming from behind to beat Rangers.
The visitors took the lead in the first half at Rugby Park, but Kris Boyd scored twice in three minutes after the break to secure the 2-1 win.
Kilmarnock also hit the post and forced Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham into three good saves.
"I don't think anybody could begrudge us this win," Clarke said.
"Credit to the players, the second-half performance was the best since I came here, in terms of keeping pressure on a team, looking positive and looking to score.
"They didn't get disappointed, because we missed a few chances to score, their goalkeeper made a few really good saves and for a little while it looked as though it might not be our afternoon. We stuck at it and eventually the goals came."
At the interval, Clarke told his players to replicate their first-half performance, despite conceding the opening goal of the game.
The comeback victory secured Kilmarnock's third consecutive home league win, for the first time since 2008, and Clarke said the players would have Christmas Day off to spend with their families before returning for training on Boxing Day.
Midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu was a dominant figure in the centre of the pitch, and it was his shot that Boyd diverted into the net for the winning goal.
"They raised their performance and played even better in the second half," Clarke said. "Rangers had one or two dangerous moments from crosses but we dealt with that and saw the game out well.
"I did say to my staff in the dressing room that it was a good job Kris got a touch, because Youssouf doesn't score very many from outside the box.
"Youssouf coming in has given them a little boost. He's a high quality performer, he shows that on the pitch and once he gets fit he'll get even better."
Rangers manager Graeme Murty was taking charge for the first time since being confirmed in the position until the end of the season.
He left Bruno Alves out of the squad due to an injury picked up in training on Friday, and with one eye on next Saturday's Old Firm game at Celtic Park.
"I made a choice because we have big games coming up," Murty said.
"I thought the guys in there were capable of doing the job. For parts of it we did okay, but we were loose on the ball, slack at times with what we wanted to achieve.
"Once we managed to compose ourselves and pass the ball, we had chances, but we need to be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch. Both goals were not good enough defending from us and it's a sore one to take.
"You can look for excuses. The players on the pitch had more than enough experience and ability to claim the shirt. We need players to step in to difficult games and perform. We have to pick ourselves up and get ready for another big game."