Rangers rebound, Celtic stay in front
Rangers got over their Old Firm derby defeat disappointment with a 3-0 win over Motherwell at Ibrox to remain two points behind Celtic, who beat Dunfermline 3-0 today, at the top of the Scottish Premier League.
In a rare start, David Healy fired Rangers into a first-half lead before Sone Aluko netted his first goal for the club ten minutes after the break. Stephen Craigan then turned Lee Wallace's shot into his own net in the 73rd minute to round off a comprehensive victory against third-placed Motherwell.
Rangers made three changes to the side that lost the Old Firm derby with Dorin Goian returning from suspension and Healy brought in for the injured Nikica Jelavic. The Northern Ireland striker nearly made an instant impact when goalkeeper Darren Randolph got out to bock his early close-range shot before Rangers were dealt a blow in the ninth minute when Kyle Lafferty appear to pull his hamstring and had to be replaced with John Fleck.
Randolph was then equal to a curling free-kick from Steven Davis on the half-hour mark before Healy's downward header from a Sasa Papac cross bounced over the bar. Healy looked to be in on goal after beating Tim Clancy to a challenge just inside the Motherwell half, but Randolph raced out his goal to clear the danger.
However, the Northern Irishman wasn't to be denied in the 36th minute when he fired Rangers into the lead. Aluko rode a challenge wide on the right before picking out Healy in the six-yard box, who took a touch before sending a low-angled shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The goal seemed to spur Motherwell into action and they came close to an equaliser when Michael Higdon connected with Steven Hammell's cross at the back post but sent his first time effort just over.
Randolph did well to stop Lee Wallace's volley before Carlos Bocanegra saw his header blocked on the line as Rangers emerged from the interval hungry to add to their lead. A goal was not long in coming, though, with Aluko slotting home a left-footed shot low past Randolph from the edge of the box in the 55th minute after Healy teed him up following a good passing move.
The keeper then made a great save to stop a fierce strike from Davis before Rangers extended their lead in the 73rd minute. Randolph saved Aluko's initial shot but couldn't do anything as Craigan turned Wallace's follow-up effort into his own net.
Elsewhere, two goals in the last ten minutes handed Hearts a 3-1 win in the Edinburgh derby against Hibernian at Easter Road. After a goalless first half Ryan McGowan headed Hearts into a 58th minute lead, but Hibs were almost immediately back on level terms when Marius Zaliuskas turned Danny Galbraith's cross into his own net.
However, strikes from Andy Webster and substitute Rudi Skacel in the final minutes means Hearts move up to fourth spot and leaves Hibs languishing a point above the relegation spot.
Aberdeen came from behind to defeat Dundee United 2-1 and Kilmarnock scored late to record a 2-1 win over St Mirren.