Rangers manager Ally McCoist admits the international break has come at the worst possible time after watching his side move nine points clear at the summit of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The Scottish champions earned a 1-0 win over Hibernian at Ibrox thanks to a second-half strike from Kyle Lafferty, after Steven Whittaker missed from the penalty spot just before half-time.

McCoist said: "It's a disappointment. I wish we were playing next week, there is no doubt about that. In terms of our momentum, it has been good. We wish all our players all the best and the most important thing from our point of view is that they come back safe and sound."

Rangers now boast a healthy lead at the top of the SPL, with Stuart McCall's Motherwell sitting in second spot thanks to their win at Dundee United.

McCoist added: "Everybody is talking about gaps but we just wanted to win the game today. The three points were far more important than any gap. It's been a good week for us and we got another clean sheet so that was really pleasing."

Whittaker had to battle team-mate Nikica Jelavic for the ball when the penalty was awarded, only to balloon well over the crossbar, but McCoist would have no problem with the full-back stepping up again.

He said: "I think Jelavic did want it. I would be very surprised if he didn't and I was very surprised that he didn't get his way. But, to be fair to Steven, Steven is pretty strong-willed and he fancies himself in that position. You don't score them all. I would have no problems with Steven taking the next one."

Hibs boss Colin Calderwood felt there were encouraging aspects of their performance but had no real complaints about the result.

He said: "On reflection, they had better chances in the first half and we had a good chance in the second half. But we would be kidding ourselves if we thought overall that deserved us the win.

"I quite liked our performance and I think we grew into the game. We didn't have the danger that we had in the first half, so that's encouraging."

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#Kyle Lafferty
#Premier League
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