Lafferty's touch has Rangers nine clear

Rangers 1 Hibernian 0

When every effort is strained and anxiety prevails, it is the small mercies that a team has to grasp. Rangers' performance became an earnest toil, and there was long enough when it looked as thoughall of the grind would be worthless, so the goal whenit eventually came felt to them like relief.

Kyle Lafferty's deft touch inside the six-yard box converted Gregg Wylde's cross, and if the game itself might be easily discarded from memory, the significance of the strike will linger. The victory moves Rangers nine points clear of second-place Motherwell and 10 points ahead of Celtic, a considerable lead, even if Neil Lennon's side play Hearts at Tynecastle today and have another game in hand.

Rangers will accept the result as it came, because they spent so much of the game gathering regrets. Wylde spurned two opportunities early in the first-half, then Nikica Jelavic shot straight at Graham Stack, the Hibernian goalkeeper. When Steven Whittaker fired a penalty over just before the interval, after Lafferty had been brought down, it summed up the home side's misfortunes.

"We didn't have conviction in front of goal," said Ally McCoist, the Rangers manager.

Yet Rangers dominated, and all that the visitors had to show for their second-half display was Junior Agogo being sent clean through, only to see his shot saved by Allan McGregor, the Rangers goalkeeper.

Jamie Ness's arrival as a half-time substitute brought some refinement of thought and distribution to the Rangers midfield, but chances continued to be wasted. Maurice Edu fired over, and Lafferty failed to connect in front of goal.

Rangers found reward in persistence, and refusing to succumb to despair. "It was their quality that won them the game," said Colin Calderwood, the Hibs manager.

Rangers (4-4-2): McGregor; Whittaker, Goian, Bocanegra, Papac; Bedoya (Ness, 46), Davis, Edu, Wylde; Jelavic, Lafferty (Wallace, 85).

Hibernian (4-4-2): Stack; Palsson (Sodje, 85), O'Hanlon, Murray, Hanlon; Scott, (Wotherspoon, 75), Towell, Osbourne, Sproule (Griffiths, 75); Agogo, O'Connor.

Referee Martin Atkinson.

Man of the match Davis (Rangers).

Match rating 3/10.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
propertyfilmReview: It's the sheer nastiness of the Riot Club that takes you aback, says Geoffrey Macnab

Sport
Twelve of the winning bidders will each host three group matches
football
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week