McCoist does trick

Raith Rovers 2 Duffield 29, Kirkwood 68 pen Rangers 4 McCoist 39 pen, 83, 88, Durie 90 pen Attendance: 9,300
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FOR MOMENTS yesterday, those who mourned the death of the title race last week were almost made to choke on their tears. By the final whistle, however, there was merely confirmation that anything other than a Rangers title at the end of the season is fantasy.

Three penalties, three goals in the last eight minutes and an Ally McCoist hat-trick meant that there was more than a touch of the absurd to this 4-2 victory which sends Rangers eight points clear of Celtic.

It started as a scrappy affair as Rangers struggled to link properly with Paul Gascoigne. Raith, however, were having slightly more joy from their midfield endeavours. Their opening goal began with Danny Lennon who collected from deep and fed the ball wide to Davie Kirkwood. His low, hard cross was thumped in by Peter Duffield, beating Rangers' newly acquired keeper Theo Snelders at his near post.

Last week's hero for Rangers, forward Erik Bo Andersen, didn't really impress in this game, but he did play a role in what was the most bizarre of equalisers. Gordon Durie's throw-in flew past Andersen and as Bobby Raeside shadowed him to the ball, the referee gave the most dubious of penalties - simply converted by McCoist for his opener.

But Raith soon learned that the referee's decisions could swing either way as they were awarded their own questionable penalty after 67 minutes. The linesman spotted an incident between John Brown and Duffield, and Kirkwood restored Raith's lead from the spot.

Rangers worked furiously and had to wait until the 83rd minute to regain parity. Gascoigne swung over a corner to Gordan Petric whose header was nodded past Bobby Geddes for McCoist's second.

Unsatisfied with a point, Rangers chased the winner, and with two minutes remaining McCoist pounced on a loose ball to claim his hat-trick. In injury time, the referee completed his own hat-trick awarding another penalty for a challenge on Durie, who this time scored it himself.