Rangers target top spot

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The Independent Football

Rangers have the chance to regain top spot in the Scottish Premier League with victory over Kilmarnock at Ibrox this afternoon. Walter Smith’s side had been widely written off around the turn of the year when they trailed Celtic by seven points. But their Old Firm rivals have stuttered of late – they play at Motherwell tomorrow – allowing Rangers to close the gap to two points.

The Rangers captain, Barry Ferguson, will return after missing the midweek Scottish Cup win at Forfar. “Three years without a title is a long time so we are under pressure this year,” said Ferguson yesterday. “From the start of pre-season, we knew what we had to do and that’s win the league. It’s close again. After the last Old Firm game, people said we had lost the league when it went to seven points but we never believed that. We are down to two points now and, if we win tomorrow, we go top of the league, so that’s a big incentive for us.”

Gordon Strachan takes his side to Fir Park to take on a Motherwell side managed by his former Aberdeen team-mate Mark McGhee. Motherwell went out of the Scottish Cup in midweek, losing 1-0 to St Mirren, a defeat McGhee has described as one of the worst moments of his managerial career. But Celtic’s recent form is not impressive either. They have failed to score in their last two league games and have not won away since that victory over Rangers in December.

Aberdeen host Dundee United at Pittodrie today in the battle for a Uefa Cup spot, while Hearts, who lead the way in that contest, entertain St Mirren.