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Rangers move four clear on night of drama

By Lisa Gray

Dundee Utd 0 Rangers 4: Rangers moved four points clear at the top after an incredible match which saw Dundee United reduced to eight men and concede three penalties.

Steven Whittaker converted twice from the spot before failing to claim his hat-trick by missing the third penalty, as Mihael Kovacevic, Sean Dillon and Morgaro Gomis were all dismissed by referee Willie Collum for denying clear goalscoring opportunities.

Kyle Lafferty — thanks to an assist from fellow Northern Ireland striker David Healy — and Nikica Jelavic were also on target to ensure the SPL champions head into this weekend's Old Firm derby at the summit, regardless of the outcome of Celtic's game at Kilmarnock tonight.

Whittaker converted his first penalty on 22 minutes after Kovacevic was dismissed for a foul on Steven Naismith.

Rangers doubled their lead after an hour as Dillon was sent packing for tripping Jelavic. Again, Whittaker held his nerve to score.

Rangers grabbed their third of the night after 72 minutes.

Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis forced a decent block from Dusan Pernis but the keeper spilled into the path of Jelavic who netted the rebound.

There was further drama to come when Gomis was sent off for a push on El Hadji Diouf and Rangers were handed their third penalty with 12 minutes to go. However Whittaker blasted high and wide.

Lafferty then sealed the victory after 82 minutes when he controlled a neat lay-off from sub Healy before rifling home from 25 yards.

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