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Rangers go four clear of Celtic on SPL table

Defending Scottish Premier League champions Rangers have staked their claim for a third-straight Premiership - with a little help from the referee. 'Gers have been sitting second on the table for most of the season as Old Firm derby rivals Celtic have made the running but in recent weeks, the two have been yo-yoying at the summit, exchanging places after each match they win.

Last night, Walter Smith's men sent a message to the Hoops with an efficient performance to go four points clear with two games in hand after beating Dundee United 4-0 away from home but it was with some assistance from match official Willy Collum.

The Glasgow giants were awarded three penalties by Collum at Tannadice Park with the Arabs finishing with just eight men after three red cards.

It was the catalyst for Rangers to go a point clear of Celtic who take on Kilmarnock at Rugby Park tonight before the massive Old Firm derby clash at Ibrox on Easter Sunday.

Steven Whittaker converted from the spot in the 22nd minute after Michael Kovacevic brought down Steve Naismith in the area to receive his marching orders before Whittaker added a second on the hour-mark when Sean Dillon received the same fate as his teammate for felling Nikica Jelavic.

Jelavic then made it 3-0 in the 72nd minute with his fifth in his past seven outings when he rebounded from a tight angle after Dundee keeper Dusan Pernis had made a save.

The match then turned into a bit of a circus when a third Terrors player, Morgaro Gomis, was also sent off for pushing El-Hadji Diouf but Whittaker blasted wide as he chased his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

Kyle Lafferty wrapped up proceedings seven minutes from time when he fired home from 25 yards to send Rangers marching toward a third-consecutive SPL title.

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