Golden Boyd heeds Smith's rallying cry

Rangers 7 Hamilton 1
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The Independent Online

Kris Boyd struck the seventh hat-trick of his Rangers career and Ibrox was suitably in seventh heaven as Walter Smith's team responded to his plea for no more slip-ups to rout 10-man Hamilton. The dismissal of Martin Canning at 2-1 left the visitors with a long 40 minutes and Boyd took advantagebefore his colleagues added three goals in the last 10 minutes. Rangers atoned for their defeat at Hearts last weekend to close the gap on Celtic in the Scottish Premier League to four points, with the leaders visiting Hibernian today.

Hamilton could not have imagined such an outcome when they silenced Ibrox by going ahead after two minutes. A cross from Trent McClenahan was punched by Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor straight to James McArthur, who conjured up a composed lob from 16 yards over Madjid Bougherra on the goalline.

Kenny Miller might have restored parity with a thunderous shot in the ninth minute, but Tomas Cerny, the Hamilton keeper, produced a remarkable save to divert it away. From the throw-in, though, Steve Davis delivered a cross that was laid off by Barry Ferguson into Miller's path and the striker's angled shot rifled into the net.

Rangers were then cut open again, as Joel Thomas's run carried him into the box, where Ferguson clearly held him back. Thomas refused to go to ground and went past McGregor, only for Bougherra to block the shot, but Hamilton were cruelly denied a penalty. The importance of that decision became all too apparent when Rangers went in front. Boyd's 14th goal of the season was the conclusion of a fine move between David Weir, Sasa Papac and Miller, allowing Boyd to hold off Mark McLaughlin and steer a right foot shot beyond Cerny.

Just five minutes into the second half, Rangers put the contest out of Hamilton's reach when referee Calum Murray, from 40 yards away, judged Boyd had been held back by Canning and Murray then compounded that injustice by sending Canning off before Boyd netted his kick.

Boyd secured his hat-trick by tapping in Davis's cross before Kyle Lafferty, Nacho Novo and Davis finished the romp.

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