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Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Sunday, 28 September 2008 15:52 UK

Hibernian 0-3 Rangers

By Clive Lindsay

Rangers players celebrate against Hibs
Goals from Miller and Bougherra put Rangers at the top of the pile

Kenny Miller grabbed a double against former club Hibernian to help secure a victory that put Rangers back on the top of the Scottish Premier League.

Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander's superb save had denied Dean Shiels and a Sol Bamba header was cleared off the line before the visitors struck.

Miller dived in to head home a Kirk Broadfoot cross after 31 minutes.

Hibs' Ian Murray struck the post before Miller curled in the second and Madjid Bougherra bundled home the third.

The victory meant Rangers restored the three-point lead over reigning champions Celtic, who had been given a stern test before beating Aberdeen 3-2 on Saturday.

Rangers manager Walter Smith surprised many by dropping Kris Boyd to the bench despite the Scotland striker's wonder goal in the midweek Co-operative Insurance Cup win over Partick Thistle.

Rangers players celebrate against Hibs
Goals from Miller and Bougherra put Rangers at the top of the pile

But that - and the inclusion of Charlie Adam wide on the left - appeared to be anticipated by opposite number Mixu Paatelainen, who flooded the midfield with his own ball winners.

Ivory Coast centre-back Bamba and defensively-minded former Rangers man Murray joined Joe Keenan in front of the back four.

But Hibs started the game nervously - constantly giving away possession.

And that almost proved costly when Miller, back in the side after injury, and Adam fired long-range efforts just wide.

Hibs almost took the lead against the run of play when Shiels was played in behind the Rangers defence and the midfielder's powerful effort from just inside the box was turned over the crossbar superbly by Alexander.

The Edinburgh side appeared to be missing the presence through injury of Colin Nish, with Derek Riordan virtually anonymous in his first start since returning to Easter Road from Celtic.

Yet Hibs were again unlucky not to take the lead when Bamba's header from a Riordan corner was headed off the line by Kevin Thomson.

Rangers swept up the park immediately and a superb curling cross from Broadfoot found Miller diving in unmarked 12 yards out to head the ball in off the far post.

Hibs were unfortunate not to draw level when Riordan's skilful volleyed cross found Murray at the front post and the midfielder's outstretched toe poked the ball against the inside of the post before it was slapped clear by Alexander.

The Edinburgh outfit were made to pay once more when Broadfoot cleverly back-heeled the ball into Miller's path and the Scotland striker curled his drive into the far corner from the edge of the box.

Hibs enjoyed most of the early second-half possession and a curling, 20-yard drive from Keenan was turned round the post by Alexander at full stretch.

Rangers were playing on the counter-attack and Jean-Claude Darcheville ought to have made the points safe when released by Steven Davis but screwed the ball wide from the edge of the box.

Hibs continued to put Rangers under pressure, but Bougherra made sure of the points after 73 minutes by diverting in a Thomson free-kick delivered to the front post.

Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen:
"I was really disappointed with the way that we played.

"From the first minute, we gave the ball away when we were not under pressure.

"We were lucky to be 0-0 after 20 minutes and then had three tremendous chances.

"But, if you are not sharp against a player like Kenny Miller, you get punished and that performance was not acceptable."

Rangers manager Walter Smith:
"It was a good afternoon for us. I thought we started very well and controlled the game for much of the first half.

"We started a wee bit slack in the second, but after that I was delighted with the way we played.

"Kenny Miller has assets that complement Kris Boyd in many ways, but I just felt that we needed a different kind of partner today.

"Kenny's overall performances have been great and, if he gets chances, he will score."

Hibernian: Ma-Kalambay, van Zanten, Hogg, Jones, Stevenson, Shiels (Yantorno 73), Keenan (Pinau 59), Bamba, Murray, Riordan (Rankin 87), Fletcher.
Subs Not Used: McNeil, Thicot, Hanlon, Chisholm.

Booked: Jones.

Rangers: Alexander, Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Davis, Pedro Mendes, Thomson, Adam (Lafferty 86), Miller, Darcheville (Novo 71).
Subs Not Used: McGregor, Dailly, Boyd, Niguez, McMillan.

Booked: Broadfoot, Darcheville.

Goals: Miller 31, 40, Bougherra 73.

Att: 15,292

Ref: C Murray

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Kenny Miller (Rangers) 8.98 points (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.

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

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