Rangers quickly swept away Old Firm frustrations with a 3-1 cinch Premiership win over Kilmarnock at Ibrox.
Philippe Clement lost his first game as Gers boss in the narrow 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park on Saturday but, just as it looked as if they were losing their way a bit after an energetic start, late first-half goals from wide-men Ross McCausland and Abdallah Sima gave them a commanding interval lead.
Killie, who went into the game unbeaten in six games, fought back and Danny Armstrong reduced the deficit in the 58th minute with a penalty awarded after VAR intervention.
It was the first penalty Rangers had conceded in 75 cinch Premiership matches since Lewis Ferguson netted for Aberdeen in a 1-1 draw in January 2022.
However, Todd Cantwell soon restored the two-goal cushion as Rangers ensured the Celtic defeat was a speed bump rather than a road block.
The result sees Gers keep the pressure on the leaders going into the winter break, where Clement is sure to further bolster his squad – which had Portuguese attacker Fabio Silva coming off the bench to make his debut.
The afternoon began with a poignant minute’s silence in tribute to the 66 fans who died in the Ibrox Disaster on January 2, 1971, before Rangers looked to make amends for their weekend woes by starting with pace and purpose.
In the seventh minute a shot from Gers attacker Cyriel Dessers on the turn struck the outside of the post.
Killie keeper Will Dennis then turned a deflected drive from Sima past the post for a corner which came to nothing before Dessers headed a cross from left-back Ridvan Yilmaz just over the bar.
However, in the 28th minute a pass from Killie substitute David Watson, on for the injured Liam Donnelly, split the square Gers defence to find captain Kyle Vassell running clear on goal but Ibrox goalkeeper Jack Butland raced out to block the shot with his foot.
That was enough to bring groans tumbling down from the stands but in the 41st minute, just as Killie sensed an opener was there for the taking, they conceded when Dessers’ terrific raking pass sent McCausland through on goal and the Northern Ireland international drove it low into the corner of the net.
The Light Blues did not take long to double their lead, Sima taking a cross into the box from Connor Goldson on his chest four minutes later, before turning and hammering the ball past Dennis from 12 yards for his 15th goal of the season before he goes on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Senegal.
Killie came out fighting at the start of the second half and there was VAR check for a penalty when McKenzie’s cross struck the arm of defender John Souttar, in for suspended Leon Balogun, before going out.
Referee John Beaton went to his pitch-side monitor and then pointed to the spot with Armstrong giving Butland no chance.
It could have returned the nerves to Ibrox but three minutes later Cantwell converted a Yilmaz cross from close-range for his second goal in three games.
Dennis saved a decent drive from Gers skipper James Tavernier and Dessers took too long when presented with a chance and was crowded out, before he was replaced by Wolves loanee Silva.
In the 75th minute Cantwell should have scored again with only Dennis to beat but shot straight at the keeper before Rangers continued to keep a spirited Rugby Park side at bay until the final whistle.