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Battling Rangers crank up the title heat on Hearts

Cowdenbeath 0-3 Rangers

By Gavin McCafferty

Rangers moved to within four points of Scottish Championship leaders Hearts with a 3-0 victory over bottom-of-the-table Cowdenbeath at Central Park.

Nicky Law gave the visitors an early lead when he slotted home after a neat exchange with Kris Boyd, while Sean Higgins hit the post for Cowdenbeath.

An own goal from Kyle Miller 10 minutes into the second half and a late third from substitute David Templeton sealed a seventh consecutive victory in all competitions for Ally McCoist's men.

It was only the third minute when Rangers took the lead through Law. The midfielder picked up possession inside Cowdenbeath's half and played a neat one-two with Boyd before surging into the box unchallenged and comfortably placing his shot beyond goalkeeper Robbie Thomson.

Cowdenbeath made a decent response to falling behind. Kudus Oyenuga drew a foul from Darren McGregor after a purposeful run and struck the resulting free-kick over the bar.

The attacker then forced Steve Simonsen to save sharply from his header and created havoc in the away defence with a twisting dribble and cross that Higgins looked set to convert until a cluster of bodies threw themselves in the way.

McCoist's side were only creating half chances as they attempted to add to their lead. After Kenny Miller was fouled, Steve Smith's free-kick was easily dealt with by Thomson.

At the other end, the hosts went so close to finding an equaliser. The ball broke to Higgins on the edge of the box and his scuffed left-footed shot beat Simonsen and stuck the foot of the post.

Lee McCulloch was frustrated to have a penalty claim waved away shortly before half-time. Oyenuga had lost possession in a dangerous position and attempted to win it back with a risky challenge, but the officials were unmoved.

The visitors made a fast start to the second half as Smith's corner fell into McCulloch's path, but the Rangers captain's low strike was beaten away.

The visitors were able to find a second goal in the 55th minute. McGregor found Boyd on the right and the striker's centre appeared to be harmless until defender Miller's attempted headed clearance cannoned in off the bar for an own goal.

Miller attempted to atone for his error with an ambitious long-range free-kick that had to be touched around the post by Simonsen and fired just wide with another later effort.

Rangers went close when substitute Jon Daly's header was cleared off the line by Lewis Milne but the visitors were not to be denied a third goal.

With five minutes remaining and gaps opening up in the home defence, Ian Black found Templeton - another substitute - in space on the left and he confidently slotted inside the far post.

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