Rangers stay in touch at the top through Edu

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The Independent Online

Rangers kept their title hopes alive with a 3-2 win at Hibernian yesterday which saw them move back to within a point of Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

Steven Whittaker's early opener for the visitors was cancelled out by Steven Fletcher but goals from Andrius Velicka and Maurice Edu sealed a crucial win for the Glasgow side, after John Rankin scored late on for the hosts.

The pressure was on Rangers after Celtic had moved four points clear with a win over Aberdeen on Saturday, but Walter Smith's men responded positively to remain within touching distance of the champions.

Smith revealed earlier in the week that Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor were both available for selection, having previously claimed they would not feature for the club again as a result of their behaviour while on international duty. However, both were conspicuous by their absence in the 18-man squad.

Rangers enjoyed a good start when they scored after two minutes. The ball broke fortuitously for Whittaker just outside the box and he hit a superb looping volley.

Hibs levelled on 34 minutes when Lewis Stevenson's cross found Fletcher in space and the striker powered a header into the bottom corner.

Velicka restored the Gers' lead when he lashed home an angled drive with 53 minutes gone. Edu then extended their advantage when he stabbed in from two yards out after Kenny Miller's shot had been blocked on the line by Sol Bamba.

Rankin set up a tense finale when he rifled in from 25 yards with six minutes remaining but Rangers held on for a much-needed victory.

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