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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 December 2007, 16:48 GMT
Rangers 2-0 Kilmarnock
By Colin Moffat

Jean Claude Darcheville was on target for Rangers
Jean Claude Darcheville was on target for Rangers
Rangers closed to within one point of Premier League leaders Celtic after a comfortable win over Kilmarnock.

Jean Claude Darcheville got the hosts off to a perfect start, slotting home an early shot.

Steven Whittaker hammered an angled strike into the top corner of the net 10 minutes after the break.

Rangers poured forward in search of more goals but Killie survived a series of strong penalty claims to somehow limit the damage.

The Ibrox side showed no signs of tiredness after their midweek Champions League exploits, while Kilmarnock have now lost their last four SPL matches.

Rangers started strongly and Lee McCulloch threatened with a header before Darcheville opened the scoring after just four minutes.

A long ball from goalkeeper Allan McGregor was flicked on by Kris Boyd and the burly French striker raced through to drill the ball beyond goalkeeper Alan Combe from the edge of the penalty area.

Steven Naismith, who followed Boyd from Rugby Park to Ibrox in the summer, then squandered a great chance to increase the misery for his old club when he sent an angled shot wide from 10 yards.

Darcheville had to limp off after 33 minutes and Rangers lost their way in attack for the rest of the half.

The game grew increasingly scrappy and Boyd, inside the six yard box, was guilty of a fresh-air swipe at a ball dropping from on high.

Killie were working hard to close down their opponents but rarely managed to trouble the home defence.

Colin Nish, on as a first-half substitute, was sent clear by Mehdi Taouil's smart pass but the striker's first touch was poor and his lack of pace was exposed as he lumbered forward and made a mess of his shot from 18 yards.

The visitors were a little more adventurous at the start of the second half but Rangers doubled their advantage on 55 minutes.

Whittaker, playing in an unaccustomed left-back role, strode forward with purpose and lashed home a terrific strike from 20 yards.

Naismith tried to emulate his team-mate's impressive effort soon after but dragged his shot wide from similar range.

Combe spilled a low shot from Charlie Adam and Boyd snaffled up the loose ball to round the keeper, only to be denied a goal by the linesman's flag.

Kilmarnock were wilting in the face of increased pressure and the home fans were howling for a penalty when Tim Clancy barged into Whittaker.

Grant Murray then upended Naismith and Adam appeared to be manhandled when shaping to shoot, but again referee Alan Freeland was unmoved.

Kilmarnock had the ball in the net thanks to David Fernandez's looping head flick but the clumsy Nish had clattered into Allan McGregor when it looked as if the goalkeeper may have been struggling to stop it.


Rangers: McGregor, Hutton, Cuellar, Weir, Whittaker, McCulloch, Ferguson, Thomson, Naismith, Boyd, Darcheville (Adam 33). Subs Not Used: Carroll, Hemdani, Broadfoot, Cousin, Furman, Efrem.

Booked: Cuellar, Thomson.

Goals: Darcheville 4, Whittaker 55.

Kilmarnock: Combe, Murray, Ford, O'Leary, Clancy, Fowler, Invincibile, Hamill (Fernandez 67), Dodds (Nish 39), Taouil, Wales. Subs Not Used: Harpur, Gibson, Koudou, Bryson, Jarvis.

Booked: Murray, Nish.

Att: 48,055

Ref: A Freeland



SEE ALSO
Saturday's SPL photos
01 Dec 07 |  Scotland
Smith pleased with Ibrox victory
01 Dec 07 |  Rangers
Jefferies credits beaten Killie
01 Dec 07 |  Kilmarnock


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