Rangers bounce back but Hoops stay out in front

Rangers FC coach Ally McCoist, pictured in 2011

Rangers got over their Old Firm derby defeat disappointment with a 3-0 win over Motherwell at Ibrox to remain two points behind Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

In a rare start David Healy fired Rangers into a first half lead before Sone Aluko netted his first goal for the club ten minutes after the break.

Stephen Craigan then turned Lee Wallace’s shot into his own net in the 73rd minute to round off a comprehensive victory against third-placed Well.

“I must admit it’s been a great start to 2012,” Rangers manager Ally McCoist said, though his men still trail Celtic by three points.

“I thought the application, skill and football we played was very good and I was really pleased,” the Rangers manager said.

His Motherwell counterpart Stuart McCall was hugely disappointed with his side’s performance.

“It’s probably the worst I’ve felt after a Rangers game,” McCall said.

“I don’t think we have had a better chance in the past few years to come in and try to get something from the game. We tried to have a go and didn’t succeed and it’s disappointing.”

Celtic stay top after goals from Anthony Stokes, Victor Wanyama and Charlie Mulgrew sealed a 3-0 win at Dunfermline.

At Ibrox, Rangers made three changes to the side that lost the Old Firm derby with Dorin Goian returning from suspension and Healy brought in for the injured Nikica Jelavic.

The Northern Ireland striker nearly made an instant impact when keeper Darren Randolph blocked his early close range shot before Rangers were dealt a blow in the ninth minute when Kyle Lafferty appear to pull his hamstring and was replaced by John Fleck.

Northern Irishman Healy fired Rangers into the lead on 36 minutes with a low angled shot.

Motherwell came close to an equaliser when Michael Higdon connected with Steven Hammell’s cross at the back post but sent his first time effort just over.

Randolph did well to stop Lee Wallace’s volley before Carlos Bocanegra saw his header blocked on the line as Rangers emerged from the interval hungry to add to their lead.

Aluko slotted home a left-home shot low past Randolph from the edge of the box in the 55th minute for 2-0 after Healy teed him up.

Rangers extended their lead in the 73rd minute. Randolph saved Aluko’s initial shot but couldn’t do anything as Craigan turned Wallace’s follow-up effort into his own net.

Elsewhere, two goals in the last ten minutes handed Hearts a 3-1 win in the Edinburgh derby against Hibernian at Easter Road.

After a goalless first half Ryan McGowan headed Hearts into a 58th minute lead but Hibs were almost immediately on level terms when Marius Zaliuskas turned Danny Galbraith’s cross into his own net.

However, strikes from Andy Webster and substitute Rudi Skacel in the final minutes means Hearts move up to fourth spot and leaves Hibs languishing a point above the relegation spot.

Aberdeen came from behind to defeat Dundee United 2-1 and Kilmarnock scored late to record a 2-1 win over St Mirren.

©2011 AFP