Gers close in on top spot

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Kris Boyd continued his impressive scoring form by grabbing the only goal of the game against Hibernian to hand Rangers a major boost ahead of next week's crucial Old Firm derby.

The 1-0 victory allowed Walter Smith's men to slash Celtic's lead at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to a single point ahead of their rivals' own clash with Falkirk on Sunday.

Hibs - the last Scottish team to beat Rangers at Ibrox back in October last year - would have been confident heading into this game after inflicting defeat on Celtic recently but there was to be no Old Firm double for the Edinburgh club.

Rangers could have been ahead with just four minutes on the clock when an attempted clearance from Hibs bounced off Pedro Mendes and fell to the feet of Boyd.

The forward bore down on goal and found himself one-on-one with Yves Ma-Kalambay but the goalkeeper won the battle by successfully blocking the point-blank shot.

Mendes then came close with a long-range drive which was deflected just inches past the goalkeeper's left-hand post.

Rangers continued to dominate possession and carve out the best of the chances but poor finishing let them down. They threatened again when Kyle Lafferty set up a shot for Kenny Miller, only for the striker to flick over the crossbar under pressure from Rob Jones.

Barry Ferguson then had a go with a ferocious shot which fell across the face of goal and just past the upright as the Ibrox side attempted to end the stalemate with the fans becoming restless.

The breakthrough came after 61 minutes when Rangers' hard work eventually paid off. A Steven Davis corner was nodded on by Kirk Broadfoot to the unmarked Boyd at the far post and he claimed his 18th goal of the season when he delivered a lovely overhead kick into the bottom corner of the net.

This game could have been all but over as a contest with 10 minutes to go had Mendes been able to find the net with a powerful 45-yard drive. But, once again, Ma-Kalambay was up to the task to pull off a superb save to prevent the Portuguese midfielder from adding his name to the scoresheet.

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Steven Davis
Kyle Lafferty
Pedro Mendes
Premier League
Steven Davis
Barry Ferguson
Kenny Miller

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