Rangers crush Hibernian to restore 10-point lead over Celtic

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Rangers manager Walter Smith spoke of his delight at having Kris Boyd available to face Celtic at the end of the month after fearing the striker had been ruled out of the crucial Old Firm derby.

Boyd netted his 21st goal of the season as the Scottish champions restored their 10-point lead at the summit of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with a 3-0 win over Hibernian.

But a yellow card for the SPL's all-time top goal-scorer late in the first half was a cause for concern for the Rangers camp, who thought the caution had sent Boyd through the disciplinary points barrier.

However, the referee Steve Conroy clarified the booking, for a foul on Merouane Zemmama, was for obstruction, meaning the fans' favourite will be available for the anticipated 28 February clash.

Smith said: "I looked at the list during the week and when he got booked I thought he might have been out. But the referee says it was for obstruction which is just a two-point one so he has a point to go yet."

Celtic defender Edson Braafheid gave away a second-half penalty, which helped Aberdeen stage a remarkable comeback at Pittodrie to snatch a 4-4 draw. Celtic appeared to have all three points in the bag when Aiden McGeady made it 4-2 with less than 20 minutes left.

However, three minutes later the Hoops left-back, on loan from Bayern Munich, mistimed his jump and handled the ball inside the box, allowing Steve MacLean to reduce the deficit. The Dons striker then levelled with two minutes left to dent Celtic's title hopes.