Football: Rangers find their range: Scottish round-up

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The Independent Online
THE sight of Rangers leading the Premier League by four points will be familiar and depressing for the pretenders to their crown. Even at this early stage of the season the champions appear to have the ammunition to remain at the summit.

Rangers took their tally of League goals to 24 in 10 matches by defeating Dundee United 4-0. And after their best result at Tannadice since the start of the Premier League in 1975, they can approach the second leg of their European Cup first-round tie against Lyngby with confidence.

Already leading the Danish champions 2-0, and with David McPherson and Alexei Mikhailichenko available after injury and illness, the only problem facing Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, will be the selection of his starting line-up.

For his counterpart at Celtic Park, Liam Brady, this week's denial of any crisis at the club has only partly assuaged supporters who have witnessed four defeats in the last five games. Their consolation lies in the dreadful record of their Uefa Cup opponents, Cologne, who are struggling near the bottom of the Bundesliga.

A 2-0 deficit is not insurmountable but while Celtic's attack are capable of scoring sufficient goals on Wednesday, they cannot be as confident about a defence which has conceded seven goals in three games.

Airdrieonians, who are away to Sparta Prague in the Cup-Winners' Cup, were given a timely boost with a 1-0 win over Heart of Midlothian, who face Slavia Prague in the Uefa Cup at Tynecastle. Both trail by a goal, with the Edinburgh club looking to have the best chance of progress.

Scotland's other European hopefuls, Hibernian, have several injury doubts for their trip to Anderlecht, who earned a 2-2 draw at Easter Road 10 days ago. It will be a good week if Scotland can emerge with three teams intact.

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