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Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Saturday, 16 January 2010

Hamilton   0 - 1   Rangers

Rangers forwards Nacho Novo and Kyle Lafferty
Novo and Lafferty deputised in attack for Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller

By Andy Campbell

Nacho Novo scored the winner as Rangers recorded their first victory of 2010 with a hard-fought win over Hamilton.

Accies' Simon Mensing came nearest to scoring in the first half, his close-range shot blocked by Danny Wilson.

Kyle Lafferty's header was claimed by Hamilton goalkeeper Tomas Cerny before the visitors made a late breakthrough.

Cerny blocked John Fleck's shot but could do nothing to prevent Novo squeezing home the rebound with 12 minutes remaining.

Rangers' win, allied to Celtic's draw with Falkirk later in the day, saw the Scottish Premier League leaders extend their advantage over their Old Firm rivals to nine points, with Celtic having played a game less.

The visitors were without their first-choice striking partnership of Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller because of injury and suspension respectively and replacements Lafferty and Novo combined to create an opening in the fourth minute.

A one-two put Lafferty through on goal, but the Northern Ireland international's lobbed shot drifted wide as Cerny raced from his line.

Hamilton, buoyed by their performance in the 3-3 draw between these two sides in last week's Scottish Cup clash, put Rangers on the back foot when Richard Hastings crossed for Marco Paixao, but the Portuguese forward headed straight into the arms of Allan McGregor.

Accies continued to put Rangers under pressure and almost took the lead when Hastings' cut-back was fired towards goal by Mensing only for Wilson to get across and divert the ball wide.

Mensing then raced on to a through ball by Marco Paixao but could not direct a shot on target as he came under pressure from the Rangers defence.

Captain David Weir came to Rangers' rescue with a last-ditch tackle on Mickael Antoine-Curier, while Steven Davis volleyed wide of the Hamilton goal as the first half drew to a close.

Rangers were more enterprising after the break and Steven Whittaker had an effort wide of target either side of Cerny's save from Lafferty's header.

Rangers defender Steven Whittaker and Hamilton defender Martin Canning
Steven Whittaker and Martin Canning battle for possession

Hamilton looked to relieve some of the pressure coming on to their backline and Antoine-Curier outpaced Weir only to shoot into the side-netting before Marco Paixao's deflected effort looped into the arms of McGregor.

Fleck had earlier been introduced as a replacement for Kirk Broadfoot and played a crucial role in the run-up to Rangers' opener.

The youngster's low shot was pushed away by Cerny and Novo found the net from a tight angle.

Lafferty's frustration in front of goal continued when his tame shot was smothered by Cerny after Rangers had beaten the offside trap and Sasa Papac was also denied by the keeper.

Accies went in search of a late leveller and Weir made another crucial interception to prevent Antoine-Curier getting in a shot.

More forceful attacking by Rangers created openings for Davis, Fleck and Whittaker in the closing stages, but only the latter made Cerny work.

Now the sides will meet again on Tuesday evening at Ibrox in the replay of their Scottish Cup fourth-round tie.


Hamilton manager Billy Reid:

"I thought we completely dominated the first half. In terms of the ball, we passed it well, controlled it and made chances.

"The second half was a little bit more even. In terms of application and how I want them to play, I thought our players were fantastic.

"You always know with Rangers or Celtic that they'll get one chance and they took their chance.

"We try to get the ball down and play. At times in the SPL, it's not easy to do that, it becomes a battle. But, against the better teams, they allow you to play football and I think, over the two games against Rangers, we've certainly showed that.

"Alex Neil and James McArthur were sensational."

Rangers manager Walter Smith:

"I felt it was a poor first-half performance from us. We didn't play well at all in the first half, Accies were the better side.

"We had one or two half-chances in that first half that we could've taken advantage of. But, overall, I was disappointed in the first-half performance.

"In the second half, we picked up a little bit and put Accies under a bit more pressure and created more opportunities.

"In the end, we had to settle for the one goal, which thankfully we got through Nacho Novo.

"Taking into consideration that quite a number of our players are just coming back from injury, haven't played an awful lot of football recently and have been called upon to come and play today, we're delighted to get the win."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Scottish Premier

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Hamilton 0-1 Rangers FT
(HT 0-0)
    • Novo 78

    Hamilton

    • 01 Cerny
    • 03 Hastings
    • 04 Canning
    • 05 van Zanten (McClenahan 59)
    • 06 McLaughlin yellow card (Crawford 82)
    • 25 Elebert
    • 08 McArthur
    • 27 Mensing
    • 09 Antoine-Curier
    • 10 Neil
    • 21 Marco Paixao

    Substitutes

    • 19 Murdoch,
    • 02 McClenahan,
    • 36 Crawford,
    • 14 Elliott,
    • 37 Sullivan,
    • 18 Flavio Paixao,
    • 28 Kirkpatrick

    Rangers

    • 01 McGregor
    • 03 Weir
    • 05 Papac
    • 16 Whittaker
    • 21 Broadfoot (Fleck 71)
    • 66 Wilson
    • 02 Edu
    • 07 Davis
    • 08 Thomson
    • 10 Novo
    • 27 Lafferty

    Substitutes

    • 25 Alexander,
    • 26 Smith,
    • 67 Ness,
    • 29 Fleck,
    • 45 Loy,
    • 48 Little
    Ref: TumiltyAtt: 5,343
    HAMILTON
    RANGERS

    Possession

    • Hamilton 46%
    • Rangers 54%

    Attempts on target

    • Hamilton 5
    • Rangers 6

    Attempts off target

    • Hamilton 5
    • Rangers 7

    Corners

    • Hamilton 5
    • Rangers 1

    Fouls

    • Hamilton 10
    • Rangers 5
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+3:04 The referee blows for the end of the match.
    • 90:00+1:09 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Martin Canning by Kyle Lafferty. Tomas Cerny restarts play with the free kick.
    • 89:03 Steven Davis has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 87:13 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Richard Hastings, Steven Davis makes a clearance.
    • 86:06 The offside flag is raised against David Elebert. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
    • 85:33 Corner taken left-footed by Richard Hastings, save made by Allan McGregor.
    • 85:01 Corner taken right-footed by Marco Paixao from the left by-line, Kyle Lafferty makes a clearance.
    • 82:23 Kyle Lafferty takes a shot. Tomas Cerny makes a save.
    • 81:01 Substitution Mark McLaughlin leaves the field to be replaced by Ali Crawford.
    • 80:21 Free kick taken by David Weir.
    • 80:21 Booking Mark McLaughlin is cautioned.
    • 80:13 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sasa Papac by Mark McLaughlin.
    • 77:03 Assist by John Fleck.
    • 77:03 GOAL - Nacho NovoHamilton 0 - 1 Rangers Nacho Novo grabs a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Hamilton 0-1 Rangers.
    • 76:57 John Fleck takes a shot. Save by Tomas Cerny.
    • 74:06 Marco Paixao produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.
    • 72:52 Kyle Lafferty takes a shot. Tomas Cerny makes a save.
    • 72:17 Mickael Antoine-Curier is caught offside. Free kick taken by Allan McGregor.
    • 71:23 Marco Paixao takes a shot. Allan McGregor makes a save.
    • 70:22 Substitution John Fleck is brought on as a substitute for Kirk Broadfoot.
    • 69:25 Mickael Antoine-Curier has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
    • 60:29 Foul by Simon Mensing on Kyle Lafferty, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Sasa Papac.
    • 58:23 Substitution Trent McClenahan joins the action as a substitute, replacing David van Zanten.
    • 57:14 Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Steven Whittaker goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 54:35 Shot by Marco Paixao from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.
    • 53:54 Kyle Lafferty takes a shot. Save made by Tomas Cerny.
    • 52:21 Foul by Kevin Thomson on James McArthur, free kick awarded. Martin Canning takes the free kick.
    • 51:47 Shot by Kyle Lafferty from just outside the area goes over the net.
    • 51:19 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Maurice Edu by Alex Neil. Free kick taken by Danny Wilson.
    • 50:45 Steven Whittaker has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
    • 48:33 David Elebert gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kyle Lafferty. Steven Davis crosses the ball in from the free kick, save by Tomas Cerny.
    • 45:53 The assistant referee signals for offside against Nacho Novo. Free kick taken by Tomas Cerny.
    • 45:01 The second half begins.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+0:59 It is the end of the first-half.
    • 45:00+0:03 Shot from just outside the box by Steven Davis goes over the bar.
    • 43:00 Kyle Lafferty takes a shot. Save by Tomas Cerny.
    • 42:10 Foul by James McArthur on Maurice Edu, free kick awarded. Kevin Thomson takes the free kick.
    • 39:41 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Whittaker by Martin Canning. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
    • 38:46 Effort from inside the area by Nacho Novo misses to the right of the goal.
    • 36:16 Mickael Antoine-Curier is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Direct free kick taken by Allan McGregor.
    • 36:00 Mickael Antoine-Curier takes a shot. Blocked by Kirk Broadfoot.
    • 32:27 Alex Neil gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin Thomson. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Steven Davis from right channel.
    • 32:18 David Elebert concedes a free kick for a foul on David Weir. Kirk Broadfoot takes the free kick.
    • 29:32 Free kick awarded for a foul by Maurice Edu on Marco Paixao. Direct free kick taken by Richard Hastings.
    • 28:14 Shot by Simon Mensing from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
    • 25:56 Maurice Edu gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alex Neil. Free kick taken by Tomas Cerny.
    • 24:30 Shot by Kyle Lafferty from outside the box goes over the target.
    • 23:51 Mickael Antoine-Curier concedes a free kick for a foul on Danny Wilson. Danny Wilson restarts play with the free kick.
    • 20:15 The referee gives a free kick against Marco Paixao for handball. Allan McGregor takes the direct free kick.
    • 17:57 Inswinging corner taken by Marco Paixao from the left by-line, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Maurice Edu by Alex Neil. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
    • 17:47 Simon Mensing takes a shot. Save by Allan McGregor.
    • 16:52 Mickael Antoine-Curier is caught offside. Allan McGregor takes the direct free kick.
    • 16:01 Alex Neil fouled by Kevin Thomson, the ref awards a free kick. Tomas Cerny restarts play with the free kick.
    • 15:23 Effort on goal by Marco Paixao from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 13:12 Marco Paixao takes a shot. Save by Allan McGregor.
    • 12:14 Inswinging corner taken by Richard Hastings from the right by-line, clearance by Sasa Papac.
    • 10:19 Inswinging corner taken by Kevin Thomson, clearance made by Mark McLaughlin.
    • 8:00 Marco Paixao takes a shot. Save by Allan McGregor.
    • 5:06 Kirk Broadfoot is ruled offside. Tomas Cerny takes the free kick.
    • 0:00 The game begins.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Scottish Premier table snapshot

    As it stood on 16 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Rangers 20 35 47
    2 Celtic 19 18 38
    3 Dundee Utd 20 1 34
    4 Hibernian 19 10 33
    5 Hearts 20 -1 27
    6 Motherwell 19 -5 23
    7 Aberdeen 18 -6 21
    8 St Mirren 19 -6 20
    9 St Johnstone 17 -6 19
    10 Hamilton 18 -13 16
    11 Kilmarnock 19 -14 14
    12 Falkirk 18 -13 13