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Scottish Premiership

Ibrox Stadium (ATT 45,750) 7th November 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: I Brines

Rangers Rangers vs St Mirren St Mirren

Rangers 2

K Boyd (1, 57)

ft

St Mirren 1

S O'Donnell (88)

Boyd brace boosts Gers

Victory over Saints takes Smith's side back into second spot

Last Updated: 07/11/09 7:15pm

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Boyd: Vital to Rangers' cause

Boyd: Vital to Rangers' cause

Kris Boyd further underlined his value to Rangers on Saturday with a double in a 2-1 win over St Mirren.

The result sees Walter Smith's side reclaim second spot in the SPL table, while pushing the Saints into the bottom half.

Boyd took his tally for the season to seven with a deadly double, opening the scoring inside 60 seconds and adding a second after the interval.

Stephen O'Donnell pulled one back for the visitors late on, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.

Boyd may be tipped for a departure if cash-strapped Rangers offload key personnel in January but supporters made their feelings clear at Ibrox with a banner declaring: "Boyd must stay, Boyd must play, home and away."

He was drafted back into the team, along with Nacho Novo and John Fleck, following the midweek UEFA Champions League draw with Unirea Urziceni.

There was also an Ibrox debut for 17-year-old Danny Wilson, who retained his place in the heart of defence after stealing the show in his maiden European outing in Bucharest.

Kyle Lafferty and Steven Smith were both out with food poisoning and Kevin Thomson failed to make the squad after missing training on Friday, paving the way for youngsters Stephen Stirling and Kyle Hutton to be named on the bench.

Saints headed into the match without Lee Mair, who was suspended following his red card last week, but boosted by the return of Steven Thomson from illness.

Parried

Boyd had been given his usual spot on the bench for the Champions League clash on Wednesday night and made the most of his return to the first team when he fired Rangers into the lead with just 17 seconds on the clock.

Fleck's shot from the edge of the area was parried by Paul Gallacher straight to Novo, he touched on to Boyd and the striker could not have been better placed to rifle home from inside the six-yard box.

Boyd then turned provider when he slipped a pass to Steven Naismith, who tried his luck with an angled drive but, this time, the goalkeeper dealt with the danger better and was able to smother.

At the other end, Allan McGregor was called into action to push a well-struck shot from Andy Dorman past his right-hand post, with the Saints man unleashing from 20 yards out.

Rangers should have doubled their advantage when Gallacher blocked a shot from distance from Fleck and Boyd pounced on the rebound but he was uncharacteristically off-target and lashed narrowly past the upright.

With Rangers failing to capitalise on their early lead, the visitors could have hauled themselves level again when Dorman picked out Garry Brady and his chip came off the inside of the post and back into play before being hastily scrambled to safety.

The Buddies were gaining in confidence and threatened again when Billy Mehmet cut inside from the left and drilled a low shot towards goal that McGregor did well to block.

Rangers then squandered a decent chance when Fleck's corner was inadvertently knocked on by Jack Ross to the feet of Lee McCulloch but he volleyed well over from close range to the groans of the home crowd who knew he should have done better.

Relief

Steven Whittaker was another who missed training this week and he was withdrawn at the interval for DaMarcus Beasley, with Steven Davis moving to right-back.

Rangers pressed for a second goal and a long ball from Davis intended for Boyd was intercepted by Hugh Murray and his clearance clipped the crossbar as the Paisley side breathed a sigh of relief.

But Gallacher was picking the ball out of the back of the net with 57 minutes gone.

Beasley's pass found Novo and he rolled across the face of goal to where Boyd was waiting to stab home from close range.

The striker was then denied his hat-trick when he threw himself in front of a Davis cross only to see his header scrape the crossbar on the way over.

Keen to avoid any danger of a late fightback, Rangers peppered the Saints goal with chances in the closing stages in a bid to kill the game off.

Fleck turned and dispatched a powerful shot from the edge of the box that Gallacher managed to gather, before the goalkeeper punched a Boyd shot to safety.

Boyd then rattled a shot off the keeper's legs before Saints pulled a goal back with two minutes to go when substitute O'Donnell fired home amid claims of handball from furious Rangers players.

But it was too little too late as Walter Smith's men managed to hold on for the win that takes them to within a point of leaders Celtic ahead of their game at Falkirk tomorrow.

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Table

Scottish Premiership

Scottish Premiership
Pos Team P Pts
1 Inverness CT 3 7
2 Celtic 2 6
3 Hamilton Academical 3 6
4 Dundee United 3 6
5 Partick Thistle 2 4
6 Kilmarnock 3 4
7 Dundee 3 3
8 Aberdeen 2 3
9 Motherwell 3 3
10 St Johnstone 3 3
11 St Mirren 2 0
12 Ross County 3 0

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