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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2005, 15:48 GMT
Kilmarnock 2-3 Rangers
Peter Lovenkrands celebrates his hat-trick
Peter Lovenkrands grabbed a scintillating hat-trick as Rangers ended their 10-game run without a victory to leapfrog Kilmarnock.

The Dane fired home superbly following fine through balls from Bob Malcolm and Thomas Buffel to make it 2-0.

A defensive mix-up allowed Gary McDonald to slot home for Killie.

But Lovenkrands poked in Rangers' third following a superb Buffel run before more indecision allowed Kris Boyd to stab home a second for Kilmarnock.

Striker Nacho Novo had been fit enough to return to the Rangers bench, but a hip injury meant that Hamed Namouchi was the latest absentee, allowing teenager Steven Smith a rare chance at left-back.

Killie, looking to extend their unbeaten run to six games, were denied the services of striker Colin Nish, the introduction of midfielder McDonald meaning a more defensive formation.

And the home side were on the back foot from the start as Rangers made the breakthrough after just 16 minutes.

Bob Malcolm's fine through ball allowed Lovenkrands to fly clear after being played onside by Simon Ford and the Dane deftly flicked the ball over the advancing Alan Combe and into the far corner of the net.

Killie boss Jim Jefferies was sent to the stand following strong claims for offside.

The home side had more genuine grounds for complaint when a Boyd header struck Malcolm's arm with Danny Invincibile lurking menacingly unmarked at the back post.

Referee John Underhill waved play on and it raged to the other end, where Combe blocked from Buffel at point-blank range after being picked out by Lovenkrands.

Those two swapped roles as Rangers doubled their advantage shortly before the break.

Buffel's sliderule pass allowed Lovenkrands to advance into the Killie box and blast the ball high into the roof of the net.

Combe superbly parried away a Lovenkrands shot and Chris Burke's effort on the rebound was cleared off the line by Ford as Rangers threatened to run riot.

Rangers continued to dominate after the break, but Killie got themselves back into the game out of the blue.

Steven Naismith pounced after a mix up between Marvin Andrews and goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus before setting up McDonald for an easy finish from four yards.

Naismith was a whisker away from connecting with an Allan Johnston cross to the back post that was missed by Waterreus.

But Rangers looked to have wrapped up the points when Buffel pounced on Barry Ferguson's through ball.

The Belgian turned his marker inside out before Lovenkrands nipped it off his toes to slot the ball into the empty net.

Killie made Rangers pay for more indecision in defence, Boyd poking the ball home against the club likely to purchase his services in January.

Kilmarnock: Combe, Greer, Ford, Wright, Fowler, McDonald, Johnston, Invincibile (Murray 57), Hay, Boyd, Naismith.
Subs Not Used: Smith, Lilley, Dodds, Dillon, Di Giacomo, Campbell.

Goals: McDonald 61, Boyd 82.

Rangers: Waterreus, Ricksen (Hutton 45), Andrews, Kyrgiakos, Smith, Burke, Malcolm, Ferguson, Murray, Buffel, Lovenkrands (Novo 73).
Subs Not Used: Klos, Thompson, Jeffers, Pierre-Fanfan, McCormack.

Booked: Hutton.

Goals: Lovenkrands 16, 42, 72.

Att: 12,426

Ref: J Underhill


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