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Rangers 5-0 Inverness CT

Rangers striker Kris Boyd
Boyd's hat-trick came in the space of 14 minutes

Kris Boyd's hat-trick helped Rangers record a convincing win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Ibrox.

Nacho Novo shot the home side in front before Boyd found the net from Kenny Miller's pass after 14 minutes.

Boyd struck again with a cool finish and completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot on 28 minutes after the lively Miller had been tripped.

Miller got Rangers' fifth before half-time with a superbly taken deflected volley from Novo's teasing centre.

The win takes Rangers to the top of the table on goal difference from Celtic, with their Old Firm rivals visiting Tynecastle on Sunday.

The visitors were the first to threaten when Don Cowie's free-kick was gathered by goalkeeper Allan McGregor at the second attempt.

Rangers made the breakthrough in the seventh minute when Boyd's free-kick shot was spilled by Inverness goalkeeper Michael Fraser into the path of Novo, who slid in to find the back of the net.

Another goalkeeping error cost Inverness as Rangers doubled their lead minutes later when Fraser's poor clearance was picked up by Pedro Mendes.

The Portuguese midfielder found Kenny Miller who squared for Boyd to pass into an empty net.

Boyd had initially been in an offside position when Mendes picked up possession but was adjudged to have been behind the ball when receiving Miller's pass.

Mendes was also involved in Rangers' third, stealing the ball in the Inverness half before picking out Boyd, who scored his second with a composed 17-yard shot.

Rangers extended their advantage after Miller's determined run in the penalty area was interrupted by David Proctor's poor challenge.

Boyd seized the opportunity to add to his goal tally with a low shot past Fraser.

Rangers captain Barry Ferguson
Ferguson made his first Rangers appearance since May

Miller missed a gilt-edged chance when he blazed over at the end of a sweeping move involving Mendes and Boyd.

But the Scotland striker made no mistake with his excellent strike in first-half injury time.

Madjid Bougherra's lofted ball was chased by Novo on the right and the Spaniard's cut-back was lashed home by Miller.

The home crowd applauded the arrival of Barry Ferguson after 56 minutes, the Rangers captain coming on as a substitute to make his maiden first-team appearance of the season.

Ferguson, who had ankle surgery in the summer, replaced Kevin Thomson with Rory Loy also coming off the bench to make his Rangers debut as Miller departed.

Inverness began to make in-roads to the Rangers goal and McGregor was required to block Grant Munro's back-post header.

Ian Black then tested McGregor with a long-range volley and from the resultant corner, Garry Wood's shot was off-target.

Cowie also fired over with a speculative half-volley from the edge of the penalty area.

Rangers thought they had scored a sixth when Boyd headed past Fraser from Kirk Broadfoot's cross but the Rangers striker was penalised for shoving.

The visitors continued to press for a consolation in the closing stages but Wood's low drive drifted wide.

Rangers manager Walter Smith:
"We were delighted with the start. We capitalised on one or two errors that Caley made but credit to our own boys, they were quick to the ball and quick to put them under pressure.

"We've had some good possession of the ball in recent weeks without really threatening the goal that often. We rectified that a little bit today.

"I've always said that if we get the ball into the box a lot that Kris Boyd would get goals and that's shown to be the case.

"His attitude has been excellent since the start of the season. He has shown throughout his career that he'll get goals."

Inverness manager Craig Brewster:
"No-one wants to be on the end of a heavy defeat. It was an embarrassment in the first 45 minutes when Rangers destroyed us.

"They just passed it around us, they created opportunities from everywhere and we were just going through the motions. We were forced into mistakes.

"We got a bit of credibility back in the second half and a bit of pride was restored.

"They stuck together, they suddenly put in a few tackles, we suddenly got bodies forward and we made it a decent performance in the second half."

Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Davis, Mendes, Thomson (Ferguson 56), Novo, Boyd (Beasley 74), Miller (Loy 56).
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Edu, Lafferty, McMillan.

Goals: Novo 7, Boyd 14, 19, 28 pen, Miller 45.

Inverness CT: Fraser, Tokely, Proctor, Munro, Hastings, Duncan, Black, McBain (Wood 46), Cowie, Barrowman (Duff 46), Imrie.
Subs Not Used: Esson, Djebi-Zadi, Wilson, Rooney, Vigurs.

Booked: Tokely.

Ref: C Allan

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Rangers' Kris Boyd 9.38 (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
01 Nov 08 |  Scottish Premier
SPL photo gallery
01 Nov 08 |  Scottish Premier

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