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 Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 16:49 GMT
Rangers subdue 10-man Pars
Sean Kilgannon is shown the red card
Dunfermline winger Sean Kilgannon was sent off
Rangers 3-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Rangers moved back to the top of the Scottish Premier League for at least 24 hours following a battling win over a defensive Dunfermline Athletic.

Alex McLeish's side now hold a two-point lead over Celtic, although their Old Firm rivals could re-take pole position if they win at Livingston on Sunday.

Rangers had to wait an hour before being able to break down a stubborn Dunfermline team, Neil McCann's curling, cross-cum-shot finally ending the stalemate.

The visitors' chances of mounting a fightback were then hit when Sean Kilgannon was sent off moments later.

Rangers celebrate Neil McCann's goal
Rangers' Neil McCann opened the scoring
And, when Michael Mols and Shota Arveladze found the net, victory became a formality.

Rangers had been forced to make changes in defence with Bert Konterman out injured.

McLeish opted to partner Bob Malcolm with Craig Moore in the middle and Kevin Muscat replacing Maurice Ross at full-back, while Mikel Arteta returned to midfield.

Dunfermline were without midfielders Gary Mason and David Nicholls, while goalkeeper Derek Stillie kept his place ahead of fit-again Marco Ruitenbeek.

Boss Jimmy Calderwood adopted an unusually defensive system, although his side were still able to cause problems on the break.

Craig Brewster's cross was destined for the foot of strike partner Stevie Crawford before Moore's toe rescued Rangers inside the six-yard box.

Fernando Ricksen and Mols both had chances to break the deadlock for Rangers early on in the game.

Mols shot well wide from Arteta's corner, while Ricksen headed into the side-netting from McCann's cross.

Shota Averladze celebrates Rangers' third goal
Shota Averladze completed the scoring
Arveladze then headed against the outside of the post with the goal gaping before missing another couple of chances prior to the interval.

Rangers upped the pace after the break and Mols created space in the box with a trademark spin only to lift his shot well over the bar.

Ricksen turned an Arthur Numan drive into the net only to be ruled offside, but the roof fell in for Dunfermline within a couple of minutes.

Arteta's short corner found McCann, whose cross-cum-shot went in off the post.

Within seconds, Kilgannon was sent off after reacting violently to a heavy challenge from Muscat, who was shown the yellow card.

Rangers then made their extra man tell, Mols turning Gus McPherson inside out before driving the ball home before setting up Arveladze for a simple tap-in.

Rangers: Klos, Muscat, Malcolm, Moore, Numan, Ricksen, Ferguson, Arteta, Arveladze, Mols (Dodds 90), McCann (Caniggia 71).
Subs Not Used: McGregor, Latapy, Hughes.

Booked: Muscat.

Goals: McCann 60, Mols 81, Arveladze 83.

Dunfermline: Stillie, MacPherson (Hampshire 82), Scott Wilson, Skerla, Dair (McGroarty 76), Scott Thomson, Nicholson, Bullen, Dempsey (Kilgannon 56), Brewster, Crawford.
Subs Not Used: Ruitenbeek, Walker.

Sent Off: Kilgannon (60).

Booked: Scott Wilson.

Attendance: 48,431

Referee: J Underhill.

 Rangers boss Alex McLeish
"It was a pleasing victory"
 Dunfermline boss Jimmy Calderwood
"We can play better than that"
The SPL season gets under way

Weekend games

Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

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Links to more Scot Prem stories

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