Whittaker spot on as Rangers beat Dundee
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Steven Whittaker scored twice from the spot and missed another as Rangers extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League to four points with a 4-0 win over eight men Dundee United.

The Rangers defender converted his first in the 16th minute after Mihael Kovacevic saw red for scything down Steven Naismith, before notching another in the 59th minute when Sean Dillon was ordered off for a clumsy challenge on Nikica Jelavic. Jelavic tapped in a third in the 72nd minute before referee Willie Collum brought out the red for a third time when Morgaro Gomis was penalised for a push on substitute El-Hadji Diouf at the back post. This time, however, Whittaker blasted his spot-kick over the bar.

There was still time for Kyle Lafferty to make it 4-0 in the 83rd minute as Rangers' goal difference received a boost. The win means Rangers will go into Sunday's crucial Old Firm derby on top of the SPL no matter how Celtic, who have two games in hand, fare against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Wednesday.

At Tannadice, the game burst into life in the 16th minute when Naismith flew into the box and slotted low past Dusan Pernis, but the forward picked up a booking for his troubles after he used an arm to control the ball in the build up. However, Naismith was heavily involved as Rangers were awarded a penalty six minutes later.

Pernis could only palm away a fierce long range strike from Lafferty and Naismith was scythed down by Kovacevic as he prepared to convert the rebound. The United defender was shown a straight red and Whittaker stepped up to open the scoring as he sent Pernis the wrong way.

United's difficult task became almost impossible when they conceded another penalty and were reduced to nine men in the 59th minute after Dillon's clumsy sliding challenge on Jelavic was adjudged to have taken place in the box. Whittaker was handed the responsibility again and calmly made it six out of six from the penalty spot this season as he sold Pernis another dummy.

Jelavic made it 3-0 in the 72nd minute when Pernis could only palm away a fierce strike from Steven Davis into the path of the Croatian striker who hooked the ball in from a tight angle.

Referee Collum pointed to the spot again in the 78th minute after Gomis, who saw red, pushed Diouf, but nerves got to Whittaker who blasted his penalty high and wide. Lafferty got a fourth in the 83rd minute when substitute David Healy laid the ball off for his Northern Ireland teammate to drill the ball home low past Pernis as Rangers gained revenge for their defeat at Ibrox two weeks ago.