SPL wrap: Rangers maintain lead, Hamilton relegated

Rangers moved one step closer to a third consecutive Scottish Premier League title after defeating Dundee United 2-0 at Ibrox on Tuesday.Goals from Nikica Jelavic and Kyle Lafferty in the opening 25 minutes of the clash set up the victory, helping Rangers open up a four-point lead over Celtic in the race for the title.

Celtic travel to third placed Hearts on Wednesday, where a victory for the Edinburgh side will hand the title to Rangers.

Rangers started strongly in front of a parochial home crowd and it did not take long for Walter Smith’s side to capitalise on their advantage.

On 21 minutes, right-back Steven Whittaker whipped in a cross from the right wing and Jelavic nodded home for his 17th goal of the season.

Just four minutes later, Rangers doubled their advantage as Steven Naismith found Lafferty in the penalty area and the striker slotted past United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis with ease.

Dundee United had their chances to get back into the contest in the second half as Craig Conway and substitute Jon Daly squandered good opportunities, but Rangers proved too strong as the pressure fell back to Celtic to keep the title race going into the final day.

Rangers travel to Kilmarnock on Sunday, while Celtic hosts Motherwell on the same day.

At the other end of the table, Hamilton’s relegation to the second tier was confirmed as they lost 1-0 at St Johnstone.

Liam Craig was the match-winner for St Johnstone with a penalty after 29 minutes as the Accies three-year stay in the top flight ended.

In the only other game on Tuesday, St Mirren ensured they stayed in the Premier League for another season as they defeated Aberdeen 1-0 at Pittodrie Stadium.

Gareth Wardlaw’s strike after 65 minutes clinched the three points for the Buddies as Aberdeen’s final home game of the season ended in defeat.

Article title: SPL wrap: Rangers maintain lead, Hamilton relegated

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