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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 January, 2005, 16:54 GMT
Rangers 3-0 Dunfermline Athletic
Steven Thompson (left) drills in the opener
Steven Thompson (left) drills in the opener
Rangers eased to the top of the Scottish Premier League thanks to goals from Steven Thompson, Marvin Andrews and Alex Rae.

Striker Thompson celebrated his return to the starting line-up by firing home after a defensive mix-up.

Defender Andrews hammered home after Dunfermline goalkeeper Derek Stillie fumbled a cross.

And Rae headed his first goal for Rangers against an injury-hit Pars side that rarely threatened.

Dunfermline had not won at Ibrox since the 1972-73 season and were not helped by being without a number of their first-choice players.

The visitors threatened first, but goalkeeper Stefan Klos was comfortably behind Andy Tod's header.

Rangers had made four changes, with new midfield signing Thomas Buffel being handed a first start in place of the suspended Nacho Novo.

Defenders Bob Malcolm and Maurice Ross and striker Thompson returned, with Dado Prso, Alan Hutton and Zura Khizanishvili being dropped to the bench.

And it took the new line-up only six minutes to take the lead, defender Andrius Skerla intercepting a Hamed Namouchi cross into the path of Thomspon, who fired home from close range.

Nicholson headed a Lee Makel free-kick just wide in the 14th minute and the Scotland midfielder fired a drive straight at Klos.

But Thompson should have made it 2-0 when Tod sent a weak back-header into his path, but the striker could not force the loose ball past Stillie.

The second came when Namouchi challenged Stillie on the goal-line and the ball fell to Andrews to hammer home in the six-yard box.

Bojan Djordjic should have marked his own home debut with a 40th-minute goal but pinged the ball over off the top of the bar from close range.

Gary Dempsey and Scott Thomson saw free-kicks deflected behind at the other end.

Fernando Ricksen missed a great opportunity to settle the game, heading wide when found free at the back post early in the second half.

Rae headed Rangers' third after Andrews had missed a great chance for his second.

Rangers: Klos, Ross, Malcolm, Andrews, Vignal, Namouchi (Burke 66), Ricksen, Alex Rae, Djordjic (Ball 79), Thompson, Buffel (Hughes 83). Subs Not Used: McGregor, Prso, Khizanishvili, Hutton.

Booked: Djordjic.

Goals: Thompson 6, Andrews 38, Alex Rae 64.

Dunfermline: Stillie, Ross, Tod, Skerla, Scott Thomson, Nicholson, Dempsey, Mason, Makel, Darren Young (Hunt 45), Christiansen. Subs Not Used: Langfield, Campbell, Craig Wilson, Scullion, Dunn.

Att: 48,055

Ref: C Richmond

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