Jelavic marks return with strike to get Rangers back on title track

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The Independent Football

Nikica Jelavic marked his first start in almost four months with a goal as Rangers steered their Scottish Premier League title charge back on track with a win over Hibernian last night.

The striker, back after ankle surgery, has been tipped to fill the void left by Kenny Miller's departure and he rose to the challenge at Easter Road, after Madjid Bougherra set the ball rolling with the opener in a 2-0 win.

The victory saw Rangers bounce back from defeat to Hearts at the weekend, while Hibs remain in the relegation zone after failing to repeat their impressive win over the Scottish champions at Ibrox the last time the two clubs met.

Celtic made a mockery of Hearts' SPL title credentials with a sound thrashing of the Tynecastle side at Parkhead. Pre-match talk was of the third-placed Gorgie side challenging the Old Firm for the title but they never recovered after falling behind to a James Forrest goal in the seventh minute.

The Hoops created numerous chances in a powerful performance and a second-half double from Anthony Stokes and a goal from substitute Paddy McCourt, on for the injured Forrest in the first half, cemented Celtic's place at the top of the SPL while at the same time ending Jambo hopes.

Aberdeen beat 10-man Inverness for the first time this season thanks to goals seconds before and moments after half-time.

The Dons revival under manager Craig Brown continued with youngster Ryan Jack rocketing home his first goal for the club with a 25-yard thunderbolt in the 44th minute. And striker Nick Blackman, on loan from Blackburn, wrapped up the victory on 48 when his close-range effort was deflected past keeper Ryan Esson.

Inverness were at a disadvantage for most of the game after central defender Grant Munro was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident after 18 minutes.