Thomson injury mars Rangers' day

Kilmarnock 0 Rangers 4

Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, will resist any temptation to rush Barry Ferguson back into his team even if Kevin Thomson faces a lengthy absence through a knee injury. Thomson left the pitch on a stretcher following a challenge with David Fernandez late on in Rangers' win at Rugby Park yesterday.

Ferguson has now made three substitute appearances since recovering from ankle surgery, but Smith said: "Barry will come back into the team when he is ready. We will be careful with him to make sure that he's ready. It doesn't take away any dilemma for me. Kevin Thomson was the best player on the pitch today, he has been doing extremely well for us in recent weeks, and we wouldn't want to lose him."

Second-half goals from David Weir, Kris Boyd, Kenny Miller and Steven Whittaker secured the win which allowed Rangers to reduce Celtic's lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League to two points. The scoreline could have been higher had Boyd been able to convert from the penalty spot in the first half.

The Kilmarnock manager, Jim Jefferies, said: "I was delighted at half-time and, despite the number of players we had missing, I felt really strongly that we could get something out of the game.

"Defensively in the second half we were very, very poor. A lot of positives in the first half were all wasted due to a bad defensive performance in the second half."

Goals: Weir (50) 0-1; Boyd (54) 0-2; Miller (87) 0-3; Whittaker (90) 0-4.

Kilmarnock (4-4-2): Combe; Fowler, Murray, Wright, Skelton; Gibson, Hamill (Clancy, 63), Bryson, Taouil; Simmonds (Sammon, 68), Fernandez. Substitutes not used: Harpur (gk), Hay, Corrigan, Flannigan, Cox.

Rangers (4-4-2): McGregor; Broadfoot, Papac, Weir, Bougherra; Thomson (Whittaker, 84), Mendes (Ferguson, 63), Novo (Lafferty, h-t), Davis; Boyd, Miller. Substitutes not used: Alexander (gk), Beasley, Niguez, Loy.

Referee: E Smith

Booked: Kilmarnock Bryson; Rangers Papac, Broadfoot.

Man of the match: Thomson

Attendance: 10,153.