Rangers were forced to work hard for a 3-1 win over Scottish Premier League strugglers Falkirk at Ibrox in a match where both sides finished with ten men.

The Bairns took the lead early on when Steve Lovell fired past McGregor. But SPL top-scorer Kris Boyd, whose Ibrox future is in doubt following a bid from Birmingham City, buried a spot-kick on the stroke of half-time to even things up.

Minutes after the break Patrick Clegg saw red for a two-footed challenge on Pedro Mendes. Sasa Papac followed 12 minutes from time for a lunge on Mark Stewart before Boyd's 20th goal of the season and a late Steven Davis strike sealed the win.

The game started at a frantic pace with both sides enjoying plenty of possession but it was Falkirk who took the lead with their first shot of the game in the 12th minute. Former Rangers winger Neil McCann threaded a lovely through ball to Lovell in the box and as Allan McGregor rushed out to meet him the striker's miss hit shot sailed over the keeper and into the net.

The home side had a chance to pull level two minutes later when Robert Olejnik dropped a Davis cross in the box but the ball fell to left-back Papac, who has only scored once for Rangers, and his volley went high and wide. Olejnik pulled off a great one-handed save to stop a Kenny Miller shot from ten yards out in the 27th minute after he was set up by Boyd.

Rangers thought they should have had a penalty in the 36th minute when Boyd went down under a challenge from Olejnik in the box but the referee ruled the keeper got the ball first and booked Miller for his protests. This spurned the home side into life and they carved out a number of chances in quick succession with Miller and Mendes both coming close.

Rangers got on level terms in controversial circumstances in first-half injury time after they were awarded a soft penalty. Boyd went down in the box following what appeared a light knock in the back from Clegg. Despite guessing the right way Boyd's spot-kick had too much power behind it for Olejnik to stop.

Three minutes into the second-half John Fleck, making his full debut for Rangers, came close with a long-range effort. The 16-year-old cut in from the left and went on a mazy run, beating three defenders, before unleashing a shot that Olejnik did well to hold on to. Falkirk were reduced to ten-men in the 52nd minute when Clegg was shown a straight red card for a two-footed over the top challenge on Mendes. Davis fired the resulting free-kick over the bar.

Boyd should have done better in the 62nd minute when his downward header from a Fleck cross went straight to Olejnik. Rangers lost their numerical advantage in the 78th minute when Papac saw red for a lunging tackle on substitute Mark Stewart on the half-way line.

But it didn't hold the home side back and Boyd had them in front with his second of the game a minute later. Davis played substitute Nacho Novo down the right and Olejnik could only palm his shot out to the feet of Boyd who tapped in his 20th goal of the season under pressure from Lee Bullen. In the final minute Davis made sure of the points when he collected the ball on the by-line, cut in and buried the ball past Olejnik.

Rob Jones and Derek Riordan gave Hibernian a 2-0 win over St Mirren. A Simon Mensing penalty saw Hamilton defeat Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-0. Bruno Aguiar and Christos Karipidis secured a 2-0 win for Hearts over Kilmarnock.