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Gers catch Celtic after Saints win (SN)

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 19 May 2008


Rangers joined Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League on Monday with a 3-0 victory away to St Mirren – setting-up a final day showdown for the title.

An early Kris Boyd goal and a double from Jean-Claude Darcheville ensured the Ibrox side joined their Old Firm rivals on 86 points.

However, in a game Rangers dominated, they missed the chance to eradicate Celtic's better goal difference.

The title will now be decided on Thursday, with Rangers at Aberdeen and Celtic taking on Dundee United at Tannadice, and the Parkhead side's goal advantage of four could yet prove the deciding factor.

A goal feast looked to be on the cards when the Ibrox side took the lead in only the fourth minute.

Steven Davis chipped the ball to the back post, former St Mirren defender Kirk Broadfoot played it back across the face of goal and Boyd bundled home from only a few yards out.

St Mirren were eager to finish their season on a high and tested the visitor's goalkeeper Neil Alexander in the ninth minute.

Argentinean Franco Miranda's flighted free-kick found Will Haining eight-yards from goal but his header was straight at Alexander who saved comfortably.

With Celtic being seven goals better off than their Glasgow rivals before the start of Monday's match, Rangers were also hoping to reduce this advantage.

In the 24th minute they doubled their lead following a mix-up in the St Mirren defence.

Stephen O'Donnell had time to clear at the edge of the box but instead took his eye off the ball, allowing Davis to nick in and play it on to Darcheville.

The French forward took a touch before firing a low right-foot effort beyond St Mirren goalkeeper Mark Howard into the corner of the net from 20-yards.

In the 43rd minute Darcheville was denied by the woodwork.

Davis' cross was nodded back by Boyd and the Frenchman's overhead kick bounced off the bottom of the post.

Rangers' Spanish forward Nacho Novo tried to increase their lead in the 52nd minute but, although his shot looked to be beating goalkeeper Howard, Haining was in the right position to head clear.

Three minutes later Novo had an even better chance to improve his side's goal difference.

Darcheville rolled the ball back from the byline but, from 18-yards, Novo sliced his shot harmlessly wide.

Rangers were now really piling on the pressure and Howard needed to make a fine save in the 58th minute, diving full-length to his right to push Darcheville's shot round the post.

St Mirren were rarely able to venture past the halfway line but in the 68th minute they almost pulled one back with Billy Mehmet's glancing header bouncing inches wide.

In the 69th minute Rangers increased their lead still further.

Barry Ferguson was the provider this time, sliding the ball into the path of Darcheville, putting him through on goal, and he fired low past Howard.

The Frenchman almost completed his hat-trick in the 71st minute with a curling, left-foot shot which was just too high.

In the 82nd minute Boyd thought he had completed a brace of his own but his header was chested off the line by St Mirren defender Gary Mason.


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