Football: Millar sets up thriller

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Rangers. . . . . . . . .2

Heart of Midlothian. . .1

RANGERS beat Hearts more comfortably than the scoreline suggested to extend their undefeated run to 39 games, and open up a seemingly unassailable 11-point lead at the top of the League.

They took little time to break down Hearts - opening the scoring after just 11 minutes in only their second serious attack. Dave McPherson was too slow to react to a superb scoring opportunity, but two minutes later Ally McCoist prodded the ball past Nicky Walker for his 43rd goal of the season after Dale Gordon had dispossessed Peter Van de Ven.

Prior to this, the referee Louis Thow had shown yellow cards to the Hearts pair Derek Ferguson and Tosh McKinlay, but he took no action as Rangers' Ian Ferguson hobbled off in the 17th minute with a back injury - adding to their worries for Wednesday's European Cup tie against Club Bruges.

Thow also played a part in the second goal, giving a soft free-kick on the edge of the box. Gordon quickly fed David Robertson who shot past Walker for his third goal of the season.

The Edinburgh side had only two real chances. The first in the 56th minute when John Robertson single-handedly beat the Rangers defence before blasting the ball against Andy Goram's left-hand post, and the second, which produced Hearts' consolation goal and made for an exciting closing 12 minutes in an otherwise dull second half. Alexei Mikhailichenko failed to cut out Robertson's cross, allowing John Millar to nip ahead of McPherson and glance the ball beyond Goram.

Rangers: A Goram; S Nisbet, D Robertson, S McCall, D McPherson, J Brown (A Mikhailichenko, 75 min), D Gordon, I Ferguson (N Murray, 17 min), A McCoist, M Hateley, P Huistra. Manager: W Smith.

Hearts: N Walker; A McLaren, T McKinlay, N Berry, G Mackay, P Van de Ven, J Robertson, D Ferguson (G Wright, 68 min), I Ferguson (E Bannon, 89 min), J Millar, A Preston. Manager: J Jordan.

Referee: L Thow (Ayr).

Goals: McCoist (1-0, 11 min); D Robertson (2-0, 31 min); Millar (2-1, 78 min).

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