Naismith helps Rangers go nine clear

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The Independent Football

Rangers extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League to nine points yesterday with a 2-0 win against Hearts. The clinical finishing of both Steven Naismith and Nicola Jelavic was the difference as the champions had to battle their way past some brave resistance.

Hearts had started the stronger and missed a host of chances, either side of Naismith's opener on 20 minutes – Rangers' goal coming very much against the run of play. Rangers have won all six of their away games in the league this season, and have yet to concede a single goal away from home. Rangers' manager, Ally McCoist, paid special tribute to his centre-back pairing. "If we can defend well we can win any game," he said. "All the boys did that, not just our defenders, although I thought Carlos [Bocanegra] and Dorin [Goian] were excellent."

Celtic recorded their first win in five matches with a 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Parkhead. Ki Sung-yeung had opened the scoring – the young Korean is proving to be one of Celtic's most important players this season and finished well on 17 minutes to give the home side the lead.

A superb equaliser from Aberdeen's Ryan Jack stirred Celtic into life in the second half, with Charlie Mulgrew finishing from close range to net the winner. Motherwell remain second but will be disappointed to not have won after a goalless draw at home against Kilmarnock.