Arveladze in class of his own

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The Independent Online

Rangers got the shot in the arm they needed after their painful Old Firm defeat a fortnight ago thanks to the appropriately named Shota Arveladze, whose influence in the 3-1 win over Kilmarnock restored a smile to Ibrox.

The Georgian striker, bought from Ajax for £3 million, scored on his debut in midweek in a League Cup win over Airdrie. Yesterday his fingerprints were all over a victory which consolidated their second place in the Scottish Premier League and earned a standing ovation from 49,379 fans.

Arveladze finished off a wonderful move after just nine minutes when he buried a cross from Claudio Caniggia, and then returned the favour just before half-time with a pass which allowed the Argentinian striker's pace to destroy Kilmarnock's defence before he chipped their goalkeeper, Gordon Marshall.

Tore Andre Flo – who was forced on to the bench four days ago by Arveladze's arrival – staked his claim for a starting role by making it 3-0 after 53 minutes with a low left-foot shot, again from the Georgian's subtle set-up. Antonio Calderon threw Kilmarnock a crumb of comfort with a magnificent 25-yard free-kick in the 66th minute.

Third-placed Livingston squandered a good chance to stay close to Rangers by letting Aberdeen off the hook at Almondvale Stadium just four days after thrashing them 6-1 in a League Cup tie.

Barry Wilson struck after 13 minutes, courtesy of a defensive blunder by Darren Young, whose back-header to Ryan Esson was intercepted by David Bingham, forcing the Aberdeen goalkeeper to bring the forward down. Wilson drilled in the penalty.

Steve Tosh then doubled Livingston's lead just after half-time with a wonderful volley from the edge of the box, but Darren Mackie responded for Aberdeen with a volley of his own before the hour and then made it 2-2 10 minutes later when he seized on indecision between Livingston's defence and their new keeper, Nick Culkin.

Hibernian, though, could not take advantage of the slip as Alex McLeish's side lost a lead of their own at Tannadice, where Jim Hamilton inspired Dundee United to a 3-1 success.

Things had seemed so promising when Grant Brebner profited from a deft Craig Brewster pass and drilled in a 12-yard shot. However, Hamilton equalised in 64 minutes and then pounced on Franck Sauzée's slip 10 minutes later to lob the keeper, Nick Colgan, from 25 yards before Danny Griffin's free-kick inflicted a third.

Back in Edinburgh, Hearts ended the week in which they announced a £3.8m loss for last season with a healthy injection of goals in the 3-0 win over St Johnstone at Tynecastle. The Spanish winger Juanjo sparked the first success in five SPL games with a curling header from Scott Severin's cross after 25 minutes. Stéphane Adam then chipped St Johnstone's new keeper, Alan Miller, before the interval, and Juanjo claimed his second by turning in Stéphane Mahe's cross.

Stephen Hampshire ended Dunfermline's wretched run of seven straight defeats with the 26th-minute goal which beat Dundee at East End Park.

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