Rangers close in on Celtic
A spectacular scissors kick from Kris Boyd was enough to give Rangers all three points at Ibrox with a 1-0 win over Hibernian on Saturday. Rangers dominated the Scottish Premier League match where Hibs struggled to get out of their own half let alone test Allan McGregor in goal. But the home side found it hard to break down a stubborn Hibs defence and it took a suberb overhead kick from Kris Boyd to open the scoring after an hour to give the Ibrox fans some Christmas cheer. With Celtic not playing Falkirk until Sunday, the win takes Rangers to within a point of the league leaders before next Saturday's Old Firm clash at Ibrox.
Rangers manager Walter Smith said it had been a difficult 90 minutes for his side. "They set their stall out to defend well and they restricted us to only a couple of chances in the first-half," he said. "It was always one of those games where we were going to rely on something a bit different to win it for us."
Hibs manager Mixu Paatelainen said he had been pleased with his side's performance. "The way we defended today was really good and we frustrated Rangers," he said. "We only created a couple of chances but we could have taken one of them and got a draw."
In the fourth minute Boyd beat the offside trap to race clear in on goal but the striker hit his effort straight at goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay, who blocked it with his legs. Pedro Mendes twice came close with shots from outside the box. The first in the 13th minute was spilled by Ma-Kalambay but the Hibs defence cleared the danger before Boyd got to the rebound. Seven minutes later the Portuguese international had a curling effort which was just tipped round the post by the keeper.
Kenny Miller blasted Kyle Lafferty's cross high over the crossbar from six yards in the 23rd minute. Colin Nish's weak shot well wide from 40 yards when he had more time to advance in on McGregor. Barry Ferguson was the first to try his luck in the second-half. The Rangers captain's low angled drive flashed across the face of goal with Boyd unlucky not to get on the end of it to knock it in.
Boyd opened the scoring with a clever overhead kick after an hour. A Steve Davis corner from the right was headed on by Kirk Broadfoot and with his back to goal Boyd put his scissors kick effort high over Ma-Kalambay and into the net. Boyd failed to find the target from a free-kick in a good position 25 yards when he blasted his shot high and wide. John Rankin came close with a shot from 30 yards that just dipped over the bar in the 74th minute. A minute later Alan O'Brien sent in a cross from the left which found Steven Fletcher unmarked in the box but his header his downward header was easily collected by McGregor.
Mendes nearly was unlucky not to score with an audacious lob from around 45 yards when he spotted Ma-Kalambay off his line but his shot crashed off the crossbar with the keeper beaten. Rangers played out the final minutes with Steve Davis coming close with a fierce drive in the final minute.
Goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Gary MacDonald and Darren Mackie secured a 3-0 win for Aberdeen over Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Andy Dorman scored the only goal of the game as St Mirren won away to Kilmarnock. Dundee United and Hearts shared the points in a 0-0 draw at Tynecastle to keep the sides locked together on 31 points. In the Lanarkshire derby a James McCarthy double secured a 2-0 win for Hamilton over Motherwell. The victory saw Hamilton draw level on points with their rivals with only goal difference keeping them bottom.