Football: Magical McCoist

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Rangers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Dundee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

RANGERS are beginning to exert an ominous presence at the top of a claustrophobic Scottish Premier Division after a win against the bottom club which has taken them to within one point of Aberdeen and Motherwell, the joint leaders.

The champions have done so without yet displaying their form of last season - they have lost three games at Ibrox already - and despite the scoreline they were still not wholly convincing.

A first half littered with good intentions gone wrong had little shape or direction about it until Rangers took a 31st-minute lead and then set about securing the points with style.

Ian Ferguson lit the fuse on an explosive 10 minutes which undermined Dundee's good defensive work. Rangers' midfield man latched on to a loose ball to score the type of goal which has become his trademark - a low powerful shot from the edge of the area.

Two minutes later Ally McCoist scored a second for Rangers from the penalty spot after Gary Paterson had handled while challenging Dave McPherson to a high ball.

Mark Hateley and Alexei Mikhailichenko came close to adding a third goal before McCoist obliged with a powerful header from a John Brown cross. Dundee restarted in spirited fashion and Ally Maxwell, the Rangers keeper, was beaten by Billy Dodds in the 66th minute after the Dundee forward had got the better of Brown. Headers from Hateley and Stuart McCall then hit Dundee's bar.

Rangers (4-4-2): Maxwell; Stevens, McPherson, Brown, Robertson; Durrant, I Ferguson, McCall, Mikhailichenko; McCoist (Huistra, 64), Hateley. Substitutes not used: Pressley, Scott (gk).

Dundee (3-5-2): Mathers; Paterson, Duffy, McQuillen; Frail, Wieghorst (McGowan, 74), Dodds, Czachowski, Pittman; Ritchie, Ristic (Tosh, 62). Substitute not used: Thompson (gk).

Referee: J McGilvray (Edinburgh).