Gascoigne at best

Scottish football
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The Independent Online
Scottish football

Controversy has dogged Paul Gascoigne from day one of his time at Rangers, after his pounds 4.3m club record move to from Lazio, but on Saturday he orchestrated a 4-1 victory over Hibernian at Easter Road that kept the league leaders four points clear of Celtic.

Gascoigne made headlines for the right reasons only four days before he and three other players face a Scottish Football Association disciplinary hearing into alleged incidents against Aberdeen. His performance won praise from both his manager, Walter Smith, who said it was one of the midfielder's "most effective" displays in a blue jersey, and the Rangers captain, Richard Gough.

"He's played three games in a week and I thought he looked strong throughout the 90 minutes against Hibs," Gough said. "His fitness looked as good as it has been all season. He had some close attention but he seems to like that - he can suck people in."

It was Gascoigne's wickedly flighted free-kick that Darren Dods headed into his own net to put Rangers 2-1 up after Scotland strikers Ally McCoist and Darren Jackson traded early goals.

Once Charlie Miller struck three minutes after half-time the result looked a formality and Gordon Durie added a stunning fourth with only his second touch after coming on as a substitute.

Smith would not be drawn on reports that the pounds 2.5m signing of Gremio's Brazilian striker Jardel is all but wrapped up.

n Morton's Allan McGraw was recovering yesterday after becoming the second Scottish manager this season to be rushed to hospital during a match. McGraw was taken away by ambulance as his side beat the leaders, Dunfermline, 2-0 on to go second in the First Division. He had tests in a Dunfermline hospital for what is thought to be a stomach problem. St Johnstone's Paul Sturrock was taken to hospital amid fears of a heart attack during a game earlier in the campaign.

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