Jelavic sets Rangers back on title track

Rangers 2 Dunfermline Athletic 1

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The Independent Online

No need to panic after all; Rangers are back in the groove. After their first Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat of the season against Kilmarnock, Rangers tightened their grip at the top with this 2-1 victory over Dunfermline.

It took an own-goal from Alex Keddie and a penalty converted by Nikica Jelavic to secure the points but it should have been more comfortable than that. Thomas Bendiksen came in to strengthen the midfield and Sone Aluko showed great attacking promise on his debut. Sharper finishing would have left the result in no doubt, rather than Rangers having to protect a slender lead for an hour after Joe Cardle pulled a goal back.

The tone was set from the off with Aluko causing problems down the right and Jelavic wasting the chance he laid on. The Croatian went closer with a header from a pass by Steven Davis but the ball whistled wide. Aluko could do no better himself, but Gregg Wylde did force a save from Paul Gallacher before Rangers went ahead thanks to a Dunfermline mishap.

Gallacher attemptedto deal with the ball in the box as Wylde tried to set up Bendiksen, but the goalkeeper's intended clearance hit Keddie and rebounded into the net.

Rangers deserved the lead but seven minutes later when they doubled their advantage it again took an intervention from the visitors. This time Aluko worked his way into the box where he was tripped and Jelavic buried the penalty.

However, Dunfermline quickly pulled a goal back when Cardle embarked on a solo run that he rounded off by firing low past Allan McGregor.

Rangers continued to threaten as the match moved into the second half with Kyle Bartley and Jelavic going close.

The Croatian was certainly eager enough but it was not his day in front of goal, his best effort having Gallacher at full stretch to tip the ball round the post.

And Gallacher then denied Kyle Lafferty, who had come on as a replacement for the excellent Bendiksen. The substitute dived to head a cross from the dangerous Aluko but Gallacher was again equal to it.

Rangers looked the more likely to score, but Lafferty and Aluko both wasted further chances before at the end Dunfermline almost stole a point. Attempting to atone for his earlier misfortune, Keddie went up for a corner and headed only just too high.

Rangers (4-4-1-1): McGrgeor; Whittaker, Goian, Bartley, Broadfoot; Davis, Bendiksen (Lafferty, 58), Edu, Wylde; Aluko; Jelavic.

Dunfermline (4-4-2): Gallacher; Dowie, Potter, Keddie, Willis; Graham, Mason, Boyle, Cardle (Thomson, 68); Hardie (Clarke, 75), Barrowman (Kirk, 80).

Referee Steve Conroy.

Man of the match Aluko (Rangers).

Match rating 6/10.

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