Jelavic gets Gers back on track

Date published: Saturday 3rd December 2011 5:23

An own-goal from Alex Keddie and a Nikica Jelavic penalty sealed the victory at Ibrox on Saturday as the Scottish champions held on after Joe Cardle pulled a goal back for the Pars.

The win followed a goalless draw with St Johnstone and a first league defeat of the season against Kilmarnock, as Rangers moved seven points clear of Celtic ahead of their meeting with Dundee United on Sunday.

Thomas Bendiksen made his first competitive start for Rangers after impressing in the midweek friendly against Hamburg, where he netted for the Light Blues.

The Norwegian midfielder was drafted into the side for the clash with the Pars, along with Kyle Bartley and Gregg Wylde, who returned from suspension.

Ross Perry, Lee McCulloch and Kyle Lafferty – who had been struggling with a back problem earlier in the week – were dropped to the bench.

Dunfermline were without Paul Burns and Nick Phinn for the visit to Glasgow after both were added to the club’s lengthy injury list following last week’s 3-3 draw with Aberdeen.

A minute’s silence for Gary Speed turned into a minute’s applause at Ibrox ahead of kick-off.

Once the match was under way, Sone Aluko – making his home debut – embarked on a surging run down the right flank before setting up Jelavic but the striker blasted high and wide from six yards.

The Croatian was threatening again when he connected with a Steven Davis pass and bulleted a header narrowly past the upright as Rangers piled on some early pressure.

Aluko then had a go himself from just inside the box but rifled over before Wylde drew a decent save from goalkeeper Paul Gallacher.

Rangers’ pressure paid off when they took the lead after 21 minutes.

Wylde punted the ball into the box for Bendiksen and Gallacher’s attempted clearance cannoned off the body of team-mate Keddie and into the back of the net.

The home side doubled their advantage seven minutes later when Aluko was tripped in the box by Gary Mason and referee Steve Conroy pointed to the penalty spot before Jelavic confidently lashed home.

However, Dunfermline pulled a goal back with 31 minutes gone after Cardle’s solo run ended with a low shot past the grasp of Allan McGregor.

At the other end, Davis tested Gallacher with a well-struck shot before Wylde dragged his effort past the upright.

Rangers started the second half strongly and Bartley came close with a shot that was deflected just over the crossbar, before Jelavic nodded wide of target.

Bendiksen left the pitch to rapturous applause from the crowd when a decent shift came to an end after 58 minutes and he was replaced by Lafferty.

Jelavic looked hungry for more goals and he was unfortunate not to have the net bulging again when a full-stretch Gallacher managed to tip his effort just past the post.

Rangers looked the more likely of the two teams to find the back of the net again and Lafferty threw himself in front of an Aluko cross only to see his header blocked by the goalkeeper.

Both players combined well again moments later but, on this occasion, Lafferty fired across the face of goal and just wide.

Aluko then tried his luck with an opportunistic shot from distance that floated past the upright, before Keddie nodded just over the crossbar from a corner for the Pars late on.

Related Articles

HAVE YOUR SAY IN OUR FORUM

Comments

Jelavic gets Gers back on track

Date published: Wednesday 26th January 2011 9:49

The striker, back after ankle surgery, has been tipped to fill the void left by Kenny Miller’s departure and he rose to the challenge at Easter Road, after Madjid Bougherra set the ball rolling with the opener in a 2-0 win.

The victory saw Rangers bounce back from defeat to Hearts at the weekend, while Hibs remain in the relegation zone after failing to repeat their impressive win over the Scottish champions at Ibrox the last time the two clubs met.

As well as Jelavic, Vladimir Weiss was also drafted into the side and Maurice Edu and Kyle Lafferty were dropped to the bench for Rangers.

Richie Towell made his debut for Hibs, after joining on loan from Celtic this week, and Colin Nish was also given the nod for the home side as Steven Thicot and Darryl Duffy were named among the substitutes.

The game was less than a minute old when Weiss embarked on a surging run from deep in his own half into the opposition box before delivering across the face of goal where Steven Naismith just failed to connect at the back post.

The pair combined again when Weiss squared from the left and Naismith bore down on goal only for goalkeeper Graeme Smith to race off his line and save well at the Rangers player’s feet before he could unleash a clean shot.

Jelavic then attempted to turn provider for Naismith but he took a touch that was just too heavy and again allowed Smith to smother, before Allan McGregor gathered a tame shot from Danny Galbraith at the other end.

Rangers had looked the team most likely to find the back of the net and they opened the scoring with 26 minutes gone.

Weiss dusted himself off after winning a free-kick and lofted into the packed box where a headed clearance fell kindly for Bougherra to send an angled volley into the bottom corner.

The visitors could have doubled their advantage when Weiss whipped a tempting cross from the right into the path of Jelavic but he was just too slow to connect with the goal at his mercy.

However, the Croatian hitman was on the scoresheet after 35 minutes when he pounced on a poor back-pass from Towell before coolly rounding Smith and slotting into the empty net from six yards.

Hibs emerged for the second half determined to haul themselves back into the game and Ian Murray was not too far away with a ferocious volley from the edge of the area that was gratefully blocked by McGregor.

The Rangers goalkeeper was called into action again, this time to parry a curling Merouane Zemmama free-kick past his right-hand post after Jamie Ness had felled Galbraith 25 yards out.

Hibs had replaced Kevin McBride with Edwin de Graaf at the break and they also threw David Wotherspoon and Derek Riordan into the action with just over an hour gone. Edu then replaced Weiss for Rangers.

Jelavic was withdrawn for Lafferty seconds after picking up a booking for clashing with Paul Hanlon, who was also booked for his part in the altercation.

Rangers could have ended any hopes of a comeback when Naismith tried to pick out Lafferty as he bore down on goal but Smith intercepted and swiped to safety before he could stab home.

The big striker then turned provider with a cut-back for Steven Davis who saw his point-blank shot denied by a great save from the goalkeeper, as Rangers held on for the points anyway.

Related Articles

HAVE YOUR SAY IN OUR FORUM

Comments