Football: Rangers remain on course for title

Scottish round-up
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The Independent Online
Celtic's hopes of keeping within touching distance of Rangers again proved short-lived as the champions crashed three goals past Dunfermline to establish a seven-point lead over their rivals, who had beaten Raith Rovers on Thursday to narrow the gap.

The Ibrox club have now been linked with Jonas Thern, the Swedish midfielder who was a target for Celtic earlier in the season, although the player's agent has advised the Glasgow side to make an early bid for his client, who is attracting interest from Italy and Portugal.

Even without Paul Gascoigne and Sebastian Rozental on Saturday, Rangers were too strong for their opponents, coasting to victory with goals by Gordon Durie, Jorg Albertz and Brian Laudrup to keep them on course for a ninth title.

Dundee United were denied their own nine in a row as after eight straight victories they were frustrated by Hibs, who earned a point in a 0-0 draw. It later emerged that Tom Farmer, who owns the controlling shares in the club, has been in negotiation with at least one consortium with a view to selling his stake. Such a move would lead to a change in the board of Hibs, who are struggling near the bottom of the division.

The other Edinburgh club, Hearts, had a comfortable 2-0 win over Kilmarnock, and that takes them into fourth place ahead of Aberdeen, with the two clubs meeting in the league tonight.

Kilmarnock now face a tricky Tennent's Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at Clyde on Saturday knowing only too well that the possibility exists for a shock result.

Motherwell came back from two goals down to earn a draw with Aberdeen, yet their manager, Alex McLeish, was convinced his side was twice denied the chance of a winner when penalty claims went unheeded.

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