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Page last updated at 20:40 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 21:40 UK

St Mirren 0-3 Rangers

By Colin Moffat

Rangers striker Kris Boyd opened the scoring at Love Street
Boyd opened the scoring at Love Street

Rangers will go into Thursday's final round of SPL fixtures level on points with leaders Celtic after an emphatic victory over St Mirren.

Kris Boyd stroked in an early opener from close range and a powerful strike from Jean-Claude Darcheville followed before the half-time break.

Darcheville broke through to slip in a third goal with 20 minutes remaining.

The visitors dominated from start to finish but could only reduce Celtic's superior goal difference to four.

Rangers travel to Aberdeen on the final day of the campaign, while Celtic make the trip to Tannadice to take on Dundee United.

St Mirren had kept clean sheets in their last four matches but it took the visitors just four minutes to break the deadlock at Love Street.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

Steven Davis cut in from the left and dinked a delightful pass to the back-post where former Buddie Kirk Broadfoot was waiting to knock the ball back across goal for Boyd to tap home.

The home side responded with a powerful Will Haining header but it was directed straight at goalkeeper Neil Alexander.

Stephen McGinn then nodded narrowly over for St Mirren.

Rangers continued at a high-tempo and increased their lead on 24 minutes thanks to a fine strike from Darcheville.

Stephen O'Donnell failed to control a pass out of defence and Davis nipped in to set up the French forward, who drilled the ball low into the corner of the net from the edge of the penalty box.

An ugly melee erupted when Kevin Thomson appeared to kick the ball against the prostrate St Mirren skipper Hugh Murray and those two, Billy Mehmet and Steven Whittaker were all shown yellow cards.

Two minutes from the interval, Darcheville was inches away from adding to his tally when his overhead kick struck the base of the post.

The impressive Davis delivered an inviting cross and Boyd's blocked header fell to the striker to try his luck with an acrobatic effort.

Jean-Claude Darcheville strokes home his second goal
Darcheville bagged two goals for Walter Smith's side

Early in the second half, Nacho Novo tried to direct a curling shot high into the net from just inside the penalty area but home defender Haining was well placed to head clear.

The Spaniard then sliced a good chance wide from similar range after a smart lay-off from Darcheville.

Buddies keeper Mark Howard had to scramble away a shot from Darcheville and gather a header from David Weir as Rangers continued to pour forward.

St Mirren offered little in attack but a twisting header from Mehmet flew just wide on 67 minutes with Alexander wrong-footed.

Darcheville struck again when Barry Ferguson found him with a fine pass and he tucked the ball under the advancing Howard.

Ferguson looped a shot over from a promising position and Gary Mason cleared a Boyd header off the goal-line before Rangers ran out of steam in the final ten minutes.

St Mirren: Howard, Barron, Haining, Potter, Miranda, McGinn (Hamilton 56), Murray, Dorman, Mason, O'Donnell, Mehmet. Subs Not Used: Smith, Dargo, McCay, Docherty, McAusland, Burns.

Booked: Murray, Mehmet, Dorman, O'Donnell, Hamilton.

Rangers: Alexander, Broadfoot, Dailly, Weir, Whittaker, Davis, Thomson, Ferguson, Novo (Beasley 77), Boyd, Darcheville (Cousin 81). Subs Not Used: Graeme Smith, Faye, Furman, McMillan, Fleck.

Booked: Whittaker, Thomson, Weir.

Goals: Boyd 4, Darcheville 24, 69.

Att: 7,439

Ref: C Thomson

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Rangers' Jean-Claude Darcheville 8.22 (on 90 minutes).




see also
Smith happy to keep Gers in hunt
19 May 08 |  Rangers
Buddies boss rues lack of bite
19 May 08 |  St Mirren
Monday's SPL photo gallery
19 May 08 |  Scottish Premier


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