Pressure all on Celtic, says Boyd

Rangers frontman returns to haunt Killie – yet again – as Blues hit the SPL summit for first time since November
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The Independent Football

Kenny Miller scored twice and Kris Boyd once at Ibrox yesterday as Rangers came from behind to beat Kilmarnock 3-1 and move back to the top of the Scottish Premier League for the first time since November. Walter Smith’s side have a one-point advantage over Celtic, who play at Motherwell this afternoon, and also have a superior goal difference of 10 over their Old Firm rivals.

The greatest significance in the victory over Killie comes from the psychological boost provided by moving top again courtesy of the three points, according to Boyd at least. “This gives us a huge boost,” said the former Kilmarnock forward, who has now scored 13 times against his old team since joining Rangers, with four of those goals in SPL games this season alone. “The pressure is on Celtic now to win at Motherwell to go back to the top.”

Boyd’s manager was less inclined to talk up any supposed pressure that Rangers have now placed on their rivals. “The main thing in any given weekend is to win,” he said. “If we hold out any hopes of winning the title, they will lie in consistency. Celtic have shown consistency over several seasons to win the title the last three years. The challenge for us is to do the same.”

Smith argued passionately against the widely-held notion that last week’s 0-0 Old Firm match was boring and demeaned the Scottish game. “Gordon Strachan got it right when he was talking about this,” he said. “If you win the Old Firm game you’re the best team in the world, if you lose you’re the worst, and if you draw then both sides are rotten. It’s ridiculous.”

Kilmarnock’s manager, Jim Jefferies, named and shamed the players in his team who made the errors that led to Rangers’ goals, saying Manuel Pascali (twice) and Frazer Wright were at fault. “We gifted Rangers goals,” he said.

Elsewhere in the SPL, Terry Butcher’s fine start as manager of Inverness Caledonian Thistle continued with a 2-0 win over Hibernian that takes Caley, bottom of the table, to within a point of the safety zone known as 11th place. Falkirk continue to occupy that berth after losing 2-1 at home to Hamilton. There were draws between Aberdeen and Dundee United (2-2) and Hearts and St Mirren (1-1) to leave the table otherwise largely unchanged.