JAMES TAVERNIER rued Rangers' 'criminal' defending as they blew their title hopes by caving in at Kilmarnock.

Steven Gerrard's side conceded two goals in the final 13 minutes as Stephen O'Donnell and Eamonn Brophy netted to cancel out Scott Arfield's terrific first half opener.

The defeat leaves Rangers ten points adrift of Celtic and all-but out of the Premiership race after a shocking run of form since the winter break.

And captain Tavernier was angry with the manner in which Gerrard's side collapsed when the pressure was on.

He said: “We’ve been in this situation a few times where we go to a ground and the crowd sniffs out opportunities. And we simply don’t deal with it.

“We were in a great position after the first half. We were controlling the game, they didn’t have many chances, we were creating some without being clinical.

“Second half we go out and we’re still in the driving seat at 1-0 up. It was said at half-time. A clean sheet will win the game, but since we’ve been back after the mid-season break, we’ve been conceding terrible goals.

“We never get opportunities to score goals like that ever in a season and it’s criminal we are conceding them as a team.

“If you want to be competing for a title, you can’t be conceding those type of goals.

“I honestly can’t answer for the last two Januarys.

"We’ve gone from ending the year on a high both times and putting ourselves into good positions and then coming back and I can’t put my finger on what’s happening.

“We’re not getting out of the blocks at the start of the year and it’s costing us."