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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 15:49 GMT
Rangers 3-0 Dundee United
Thomas Buffel and Peter Lovenkrands celebrate against United
Three goals in the final quarter gave an injury and suspension-hit Rangers a deserved victory over Dundee United.

Collin Samuel missed a good chance to put United ahead as Rangers started nervously in front of their own fans.

United goalkeeper Derek Stillie denied Barry Ferguson before the break, after which Thomas Buffel fired home after a Peter Lovenkrands overhead kick.

Stephen Thompson headed in a Buffel cross before Lovenkrands headed the third after Chris Burke's delivery.

Rangers had gone into the game with a makeshift back-four, Ian Murray coming into central defence with Bob Malcolm and Sotirios Kyrgiakos both banned.

Teenager Alan Lowing made his first league start at right-back, while Nacho Novo made his first start after a leg break and Fernando Ricksen was restored to midfield despite not being fully recovered from a stomach muscle problem.

David Fernandez replaced Lee Miller in the Dundee United line-up and Murray headed desperately over his own bar to prevent the Spaniard pouncing on an early Samuel cross.

Marvin Andrews bungled his attempted clearance of the resulting corner and Samuel's shot was deflected wide of the target.

Buffel set up Ferguson in front of goal, but the Rangers captain was denied by a point-blank save from Stillie.

Burke pounced on the rebound but was also denied by a last-ditch clearance from Paul Ritchie.

United suffered a blow when Samuel indicated to the dug-out he was feeling discomfort and was replaced with Greg Cameron after 35 minutes.

That appeared to disrupt the visitors' fluency.

And Rangers sparked into life late in the game after the introduction of Thompson, who could leave the club in January in search of more regular first-team football.

The Scotland striker, who replaced Novo, headed on and Lovenkrands' effort fell for Buffel to fire into the roof of the net from six yards.

Burke squandered a chance by firing into the side-netting before Thompson headed in the second after being set up by Buffel.

And Lovenkrands continued his fine scoring form by slotting in the third from six yards.

Rangers: Waterreus, Lowing, Murray, Andrews, Smith, Novo (Thompson 57), Ricksen, Ferguson, Burke, Buffel, Lovenkrands.
Subs Not Used: Klos, Alex Rae, Jeffers, MacKenzie, McCormack, Campbell.

Booked: Murray, Novo, Ricksen.

Goals: Buffel 68, Thompson 83, Lovenkrands 86.

Dundee Utd: Stillie, Wilson, McCracken, Ritchie, Archibald (Miller 76), Kerr, Duff, Robson, McIntyre (Goodwillie 83), Samuel (Cameron 37), Fernandez.
Subs Not Used: Samson, McInnes, Kenneth, Robertson.

Booked: Robson, McCracken, Archibald.

Att: 49,141

Ref: C Richmond


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