SPL wrap: Rangers extend lead, Hamilton near safety

Rangers extended their advantage atop the Scottish Premier League to four points with a 4-0 win over Hearts on Saturday.Rivals Celtic will play Kilmarnock on Sunday and a win would close the gap back to one point with both sides on equal games.

Three first-half goals set Walter Smith’s side on their way before a comfortable second half at Ibrox.

It took 23 minutes for the hosts to break the deadlock as Croatian attacker Nikica Jelavic struck low through Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.

In the space of five minutes just before half time, Rangers took the game away from their opponents.

Attacker Kyle Lafferty was played behind the defence after strong work from Steven Whittaker and he made no mistake with a neat finish.

Steven Davis made it three a minute before half time when he headed home a deflected cross from Greg Wylde.

Hearts were reduced to 10 men on 62 minutes when a poor challenge from Eggert Jonsson saw him shown a straight red card.

Midfielder Ryan Stevenson was unlucky to find his own net to wrap up the scoring seven minutes before the end.

Hearts are five points clear of fourth-placed Dundee United, who recorded a 4-0 win over Motherwell thanks to a hat-trick from striker Jon Daly.

After dominating the majority of the first half, United had to wait 36 minutes to find the opener through Daly.

But they only had to wait seven minutes for a second as Daly headed home to complete his brace before half time.

A fine volley saw him get his hat-trick early in the second half before Keith Watson made it 4-0 two minutes from the end.

Motherwell sit in sixth, three points adrift of Kilmarnock.

In the relegation play-off group, Hamilton Academical moved within three points of safety with a 1-0 win over 10-man Hibernian.

Dutchman Nigel Hasselbaink scored the only goal of the game seven minutes before half time to extend their unbeaten run to four games, while they benefitted from the dismissal of Hibs defender Francs Dickoh.

St Mirren are only three points clear of the Accies, but hold an eight-goal better goal difference after they lost 1-0 to Inverness.

Terry Butcher’s Inverness were reduced to 10 men in the 71st minute when Russell Duncan was sent off for retaliating to a challenge from Lee Mair, but that did not stop Adam Rooney coming off the bench to score the winner in the 85th minute.

Elsewhere, St Johnstone maintained the pressure on them with a 2-0 win over Aberdeen.