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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Inverness CT 0-1 Rangers
Barry Ferguson (centre) is congratulated by Ian Murray
Ferguson (right) scored his first of the season
A 69th minute goal from skipper Barry Ferguson ensured the SPL Champions remained top of the table.

The Scotland midfielder stabbed the ball home after good work in the box from Dado Prso.

Jose-Karl Pierre-Fanfan was denied his second goal of the season, when Craig Brewster headed off the line.

Darren Dods came the closest for the home side when his header from close-range was tipped over the bar by Ronald Waterreus.

Rangers manager Alex McLeish opted to stick with the side which beat Livingston 3-0 last week, which meant there was only a place on the bench for new signing Julien Rodriguez.

The visitors enjoyed much of the early possession but pot-shots from Peter Lovenkrands and Ferguson failed to trouble home goalkeeper Mark Brown.

That was also the case at the other end when Craig Dargo motored past his man on the right wing to find Craig Brewster in the box.

Lovenkrands was only just wide of Brown's right-hand post with a low effort and the former Rangers reserve had his manager to thank in the 26th minute following an unconvincing punch away of a corner from the Dane.

Jose-Karl Pierre-Fanfan hooked the ball back towards the goal and it would have gone in had Brewster not been perfectly positioned to nod it off the line.

There was a double let-off for Rangers just after the half-hour mark.

Firstly, a mis-hit effort from Stuart Golabek fell kindly for Brewster but Ian Murray was able to throw himself in the way to block the resulting shot.

Within seconds however Barry Wilson had whipped in a cross that Darren Dods met with power no more than a handful of yards in front of the Rangers goal.

A goal seemed inevitable but somehow Waterreus managed to divert it over the bar.

Rangers survived a penalty appeal when Tokely went down under a Pierre-Fanfan challenge and there was still time for the Caley number two to be booked for a foul on Dado Prso.

The second half began with Caley surviving a penalty shout after Nacho Novo had gone down right on the edge of the box under a Dods challenge.

Brown then palmed away a Novo effort after Rangers again counter-attacked swiftly through Ferguson.

The breakthrough came in the 68th minute when Ferguson poked past Brown right in front of his near post, having met a Prso cutback ahead of Tokely.

The Croat had done well to set it up in the first place, having used his strength to hold off a challenger and get the ball to his skipper.

Caley's defence was nowhere when a long ball from Thomas Buffel put Novo in on goal but the Spaniard panicked and almost missed the ball entirely at the crucial moment.

The Champions survived another penalty appeal, for handball in a crowded box this time, and Waterreus pulled off a fine stoppage-time save to deny substitute Richie Hart.

But the final whistle was not long behind, allowing Rangers to head off to the airport with three vital points ahead of another important assignment in Cyprus in the Champions League.

Inverness CT: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Wilson (Fox 86), Black, McBain (Hart 83), Golabek, Brewster, Dargo (Hislop 76). Subs Not Used: Fraser, Duncan, Proctor, Parratt.

Booked: Tokely, Dods.

Rangers: Waterreus, Ricksen, Andrews, Jose Pierre-Fanfan, Jose Pierre-Fanfan, Murray, Buffel, Ferguson, Alex Rae (Malcolm 85), Lovenkrands, Prso (Thompson 73), Novo. Subs Not Used: Klos, Smith, Adam, McCormack, Rodriguez.

Booked: Novo, Ferguson, Jose Pierre-Fanfan, Malcolm.

Goals: Ferguson 69.

Att: 7,512

Ref: C Murray



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