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Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Saturday, 13 September 2008 16:51 UK

Rangers 2-1 Kilmarnock

By Clive Lindsay

Kris Boyd celebrates against Killie
Boyd scored two goals within four minutes against Kilmarnock

Kris Boyd scored twice against his former club as Rangers won the top-of-the-table clash with Kilmarnock.

But the Ibrox outfit had to come back from a goal behind after a mistake by goalkeeper Allan McGregor allowed Frazer Wright to roll the ball home.

Killie were worthy of their lead until Manuel Pascali felled substitute Nacho Novo to concede a 58th-minute penalty.

Boyd fired home from the spot and shot home on the turn four minutes later before Gers' Sasa Papac was sent off.

Kilmarnock had arrived in Glasgow with just goal difference keeping them behind Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League table.

Rangers had already suffered a blow before kick off when Kevin Thomson failed a late fitness test, meaning Maurice Edu was handed his debut in midfield.

And the USA international hardly had time to settle into the game when he found his new club a goal behind.

McGregor has not recaptured the form of last season since his return from injury and was badly at fault.

The goalkeeper allowed Garry Hay's lob into the box to bounce and was then beaten in the air by Wright, who turned to sweep the loose ball into the net from three yards out.

DaMarcus Beasley, returning to the Rangers side in place of Charlie Adam, missed an opportunity for a quick-fire reply, delaying his shot before being well tackled by Hay.

Boyd had been restored to the starting line-up in place of Daniel Cousin, who has since been transferred to Hull City, but last season's top scorer could not get on the end of a low Kenny Miller cross into the box.

Manuel Pascali congratulates Frazer Wright
Pascali gave away the penalty that cancelled out Wright's goal

Killie's Gavin Skelton sliced well over after Madjid Bougherra failed to clear properly in front of his own goal.

The Kilmarnock defence, with Simon Ford returning from injury to partner Wright, had been coping well until they were somewhat fortunate to survive a Rangers flurry.

Kenny Miller found Boyd 12 yards out following a mazy run, but Alan Combe somehow managed to deflect the striker's low drive over the crossbar.

And, from the corner, the goalkeeper beat away a powerful Kirk Broadfoot header.

Rangers pressed for an equaliser, but Kilmarnock looked comfortable as the half-time whistle blew with the Ayrshire side still ahed.

Beasley, who had looked tentative during the first half, was replaced with Nacho Novo as Rangers looked more menacing as the second half began.

Boyd claimed for a penalty as Wright showed his strength by holding off the striker inside the box.

But the spot kick eventually came when Pascali wrestled Novo to the ground and Boyd fired the ball low past his former club's goalkeeper.

Rangers took heart from that and Boyd turned neatly inside the box and his low drive was deflected past Combe.

The Kilmarnock keeper pulled off excellent saves to deny long-range efforts from Adam and Novo.

But Rangers endured a nervous end to the game, with Danny Invincibile missing a couple of chances and Papac twice clearing in front of his own goal.

Papac was dismissed after collecting a second yellow card for a foul on Donovan Simmonds with a minute to go.

But, despite some sustained Killie pressure, the Ibrox side managed to hold on for the win that allowed them to put three points between themselves and their nearest challengers.

Rangers manager Walter Smith:
"I thought we played very well in the first half and I was disappointed to lose a sloppy goal.

"Kilmarnock started the game very well, set out their stall and made it awkward for us.

"Sasa played exceptionally well, but we can have no arguments about the sending off and we'll miss him for the next match.

"I was a bit unfair on DaMarcus. He had two hard games in Cuba and Illinois this week and it would probably have been better to have him on the bench."

Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies:
"I think scoring early worked against us a bit as the players had it in their minds to sit back.

"Combe has had two decent saves in the first half, but you expect that and we were probably better when we went 2-1 down.

"We showed today that we have the makings of a good side for a good season ahead.

"They have players on the park earning probably 40,000 per week while we have guys on 400 per week, but we made a game of it and didn't make it easy for Rangers."

Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Davis, Edu (Adam 65), Pedro Mendes, Beasley (Novo 46), Miller, Boyd (Darcheville 83).
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Niguez, McMillan, Fleck.

Sent Off: Papac (90). Booked: Boyd, Papac, Pedro Mendes.

Goals: Boyd 58 pen, 62.

Kilmarnock: Combe, Fowler, Ford, Wright, Hay, Invincibile, Pascali (Hamill 89), Bryson, Skelton (Sammon 75), Taouil, Fernandez (Simmonds 86).
Subs Not Used: Rascle, Lilley, Flannigan, Nolan.

Booked: Skelton, Pascali.

Goals: Wright 9.

Att: 50,019

Ref: C Murray

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Kris Boyd (Rangers), 7.59 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
SPL photo gallery
13 Sep 08 |  Scottish Premier
SPL as it happened
13 Sep 08 |  Scottish Premier

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