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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 September 2007, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Rangers 3-0 Aberdeen
Steven Naismith celebrates his first goal for Rangers
Steven Naismith was making his first start for Rangers
Steven Naismith scored his first goal for Rangers as the Ibrox club returned to the top of the Scottish Premier League after defeating Aberdeen.

Rangers had the better of a goalless first period in Glasgow.

And Lee McCulloch broke the deadlock immediately after the break with a thundering drive from 35 yards.

Dons goalkeeper Jamie Langfield kept Rangers at bay until Naismith fired home from 12 yards and Kris Boyd slipped in a late third.

Naismith made his first start for Rangers, while McCulloch had returned to the side as manager Walter Smith made three changes following the midweek Champions League win over Stuttgart.

Daniel Cousin was the other player brought in, with Charlie Adam, Brahim Hemdani and Jean-Claude Darcheville dropping out.

Aberdeen made two changes to the side that drew with Dnipro in the Uefa Cup, with Richard Foster and Chris Maguire replacing Derek Young and the injured Jackie McNamara.

The Dons had hoped to build on a promising European performance, but Rangers dominated the proceedings early on and carved out the best of the chances.

A Naismith shot was blocked by Zander Diamond before McCulloch fired inches wide of the target from distance.

Cousin then whipped a decent ball in from the right that Naismith missed from a yard in front of goal, allowing Langfield to smother.

Lee McCulloch celebrates after opening the scoring for Rangers
Lee McCulloch opened the scoring for Rangers

McCulloch sent another long-range effort dipping just over the crossbar.

Scott Severin tried his luck with a 30-yard strike that fizzed just past goalkeeper Allan McGregor's right-hand post.

But Rangers broke the deadlock seconds into the second half when McCulloch let fly from 35 yards.

McCulloch fired in another drive, but this time straight at Langfield, as the Glasgow side took control.

Langfield parried clear a Steven Whittaker drive from 20 yards, while Kevin Thomson sent a header wide from 12 yards.

Whittaker fired another long-range effort wide, but Rangers made the breakthrough after 64 minutes.

Naismith drilled the ball home from 12 yards but was forced off seven minutes from the end after being injured following a challenge by Diamond.

Replacement Boyd pounced from a similar distance with three minutes remaining to make the scoreline more emphatic.


Rangers: McGregor, Hutton, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Whittaker, Ferguson, Thomson (Faye 87), McCulloch, Naismith (Boyd 84), Cousin (Darcheville 70).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Beasley, Shinnie, Emslie.

Booked: McCulloch.

Goals: McCulloch 46, Naismith 65, Boyd 88.

Aberdeen: Langfield, Hart, Diamond, Considine (Touzani 84), Foster, Nicholson, Severin, Maguire (Young 46), Clark, Miller, Jamie Smith (De Visscher 66).
Subs Not Used: Soutar, Mair, McVitie.

Booked: Severin, Diamond, Miller, Foster.

Att: 49,046

Ref: I Brines



SEE ALSO
Smith tips Naismith for success
23 Sep 07 |  Rangers
Calderwood rues defensive lapse
23 Sep 07 |  Aberdeen
Sunday's SPL photos
23 Sep 07 |  Scotland


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