Dundee United 1 Rangers 4: Boyd treble turns heat on Hearts

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The Independent Football

A Kris Boyd hat-trick helped Rangers to crank up the pressure on Hearts in the race for second place in the Scottish Premier League, their victory over Dundee United reducing the gap between the clubs to just three points.

Hours after Hearts reached the Tennent's Scottish Cup final, Rangers got their first win over United at Tannadice in almost three years. Dado Prso scored Rangers' other goal and Collin Samuel grabbed a consolation for the Terrors.

Hearts had boasted a 16-point lead over Rangers in December and will not want to be overtaken with a Champions' League place the reward for the runners-up. Only a win over Celtic, who are one victory from securing the title, will allow them to restore their six-point lead on Wednesday.

Barry Ferguson, the Rangers captain, will not play again this season as he is to undergo ankle reconstruction surgery.

Goals: Prso 30 (0-1); Boyd 31 (0-2); Boyd 54 (0-3); Samuel 68 (1-3); Boyd 83 (1-4).

Dundee Utd (4-4-2): Stillie; Mair, Mulgrew, McCracken, Kenneth; McInnes (Duff, 72), Kerr, Robson (Robertson, 88), Miller; Fernandez (Cameron, 89), Samuel. Substitutes not used: Samson (gk), Archibald, Gardiner, Goodwillie.

Rangers (4-4-2): Waterreus; Hutton, Smith, Rodriguez, Kyrgiakos; Ferguson (Rae, 66), Hemdani, Buffel, Lovenkrands; Boyd (Novo, 88), Prso. Substitutes not used: Klos (gk), Ricksen, Andrews, Murray, N'Guessan.

Referee: J Underhill (Sco).

Attendance: 11,213.