Rangers came from behind to beat 10-man Kilmarnock 4-1 at Ibrox on Sunday to keep the pressure on Scottish Premiership title rivals Celtic.

After Celtic thumped Hearts 3-0 on Saturday, it looked like the Bhoys' title charge could receive a further boost when James Tavernier put through his own net with 12 minutes gone at Ibrox after Liam Polworth's cross was nudged back across goal by Matty Kennedy.

However, Kilmarnock's Joe Wright was sent off for handling Dujon Sterling's goalbound effort shortly after, and though Tavernier's resulting spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Will Dennis, Rangers did get themselves back on level terms deep into first-half stoppage time as Fabio Silva turned home John Lundstram's cross.

Ben Davies then bundled the hosts into the lead with 62 minutes on the clock after Dennis fumbled Lundstram's long-range effort into the defender's path, before substitute Tom Lawrence extended Rangers' lead with a delightful strike from outside the box.

John Souttar sealed the win in the dying seconds with a close-range header, moving Rangers three points behind Celtic ahead of the crucial Old Firm next Saturday.

Manager Rob Edwards admitted to feeling “drained” after Luton scored a 90th-minute winner to come from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1 at Kenilworth Road and take a huge step in the direction of Premier League survival.

Carlton Morris’s goal at the death – which was knocked in at the far post from substitute Cauley Woodrow’s cross – capped a strong second-half display from the home side and moved them level on points with 17th-place Nottingham Forest, who have a game in hand.

That footnote felt insignificant at the end as the stadium rocked with the euphoria of a first league win since Brighton were beaten here late in January.

“I’m quite drained,” said Edwards. “It’s been a tough period and it’s going to continue to be that way.

“It feels great. It’s hard to win a Premier League game, especially for us. We’ve got to find more in the remaining games.

“We put pressure on the lads after (losing against) Tottenham and Arsenal, but I thought we deserved it. We showed character and quality after going 1-0 down.”

Bournemouth had dominated the first half and struck the woodwork twice, first when James Tavernier’s free-kick crashed back off the post then again when Justin Kluivert hit the same upright with a low shot.

Luton were lacklustre and showed little in attack but inertia, but they emerged after the break with renewed life and went close through Morris, who drew a two fine saves from goalkeeper Neto.

Yet they fell behind almost immediately, Tavernier taking the ball off Kluivert in a central position and – after letting it run across his body – arrowing it into the corner.

At that point Luton might have caved, but instead they found renewed fight. Jordan Clark levelled after 73 minutes, finishing off a move he had started with a powerful run and lashing the ball home first time.

A point might have been fair, but Morris met Woodrow’s cross at the death to nick all three.

Edwards added: “It’s big. It’s hard at the moment with the number of key players missing. But that’s why I love those lads in there. They’ve given us everything, they’ve tried so hard.

“Jordan Clark, who’s got his first Premier League goal today, is like so many of our lads who have fought really hard over their footballing journey so far to get here. They don’t want to give this up.

“Just because we’ve won the game today, we’re not out of it, clearly. There’s a long, long way to go, but we’re still in the fight.”

Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola, who had seen his team win four out of five in the league, reflected on a game that got away from them after the break.

“When you lose at the end, it’s hard,” he said. “It’s been the opposite in the last few games we’ve played.

“We were comfortable for the first 60 minutes, but in the second half it was difficult to find the spaces we’d been finding in the first half.”

Philippe Clement hailed the “amazing” achievement of James Tavernier after the Rangers captain broke the British goalscoring record for defenders in the 3-1 win over Hibernian at Ibrox.

Light Blues winger Scott Wright had the ball in the net in the 21st minute after Hibs keeper David Marshall saved a Tavernier penalty but was penalised for encroachment.

However,  the 32-year-old Gers full-back, who joined the Light Blues in 2015, made amends by firing in his 22nd goal of the season and his 131st in total, taking him past former Preston, Burnley and Scotland defender Graham Alexander, who scored 130.

In the second minute of added time Myziane Maolida levelled, only for Gers striker Cyriel Dessers to put the Gers back in front with a header before the interval.

Substitute Rabbi Matondo drove in a third in the 85th minute to take the Light Blues two points ahead of Celtic at the top of the cinch Premiership.

Clement, who described the victory as “very satisfying”, said: “It’s an amazing achievement, especially as he still has a couple of years to go so he can only make this record bigger and bigger.

“If you speak about the full history of football then you cannot imagine how many good defenders and how many defenders with good attacking qualities who have played the game.

“To be there on top – it’s an amazing achievement and we’re all proud of him. I said it in the dressing room also after the game.

“I don’t too often point out individual players, I don’t like it too much, but I had to do it this time.

“All the players are really proud of him, all the staff and the fans and everybody involved with Rangers. It’s really quite exceptional.”

Tavernier described his achievement as “crazy”.

He said: “If you would have told me when I first jumped into professional football that I would have a chance to become the highest-scoring British defender in history I would not have believed you.

“That is down to all the team-mates I have played with over the years who have helped me through the journey. I will just continue working hard and see how many I can get until I hang my boots up a long way down the line.”

Celtic have the chance to reclaim top spot at Livingston on Sunday before they visit Govan next week.

Clement is confident but does not believe the match is a title decider.

He said: “I’m confident we can win against everybody. Are we at our best now? No. We had all the injuries and some players are not there at their best yet.

“But I also know that we can win that game and we have the quality to do that.

“It’s also not the decisive ending game of the season. We still have eight games to go.”

Hibs boss Nick Montgomery had no complaints about the result.

He said: “I thought in patches we played good football but not good enough today.

“Against quality opposition you have to do the basics well and stop crosses, pick up in the box and block shots at the edge of the box.”

Rangers climbed back to the top of the cinch Premiership with a 3-1 win over Hibernian at Ibrox which had its fair of thrills and spills.

Scott Wright thought he had put Rangers ahead in the 21st minute when he slotted home after visiting keeper David Marshall had saved a James Tavernier penalty, but the Light Blues winger was penalised for encroachment and the effort was disallowed.

The home side did not have to wait much longer to get their noses in front though, with Gers skipper Tavernier making amends for his miss by firing in his 22nd goal of the season.

Myziane Maolida poked in a shock equaliser on the stroke of half-time, but Gers responded immediately with Cyriel Dessers putting the home side back in front with a header before the interval.

Second-half substitute Rabbi Matondo then drove in a wonderful third goal in the 85th minute to take Rangers two points ahead of Celtic having both played 30 fixtures.

The Hoops travel to bottom side Livingston on Sunday firm favourites to get the win which will set up nicely for next week’s Old Firm derby at Ibrox.

Every passing week brings more tension to the title race and Philippe Clement’s side knew what was at stake.

The Govan side, with left-back Borna Barisic and midfielder Todd Cantwell reinstated, took an immediate grip of the game against the unchanged Easter Road outfit.

Wright fired a shot just wide from the edge of the box then saw his close-range effort from a Dessers cut-back blocked by Hibs defender Jordan Obita before Marshall parried a long-range effort from Mohamed Diomande.

However, referee David Dickinson was then asked by VAR Andrew Dallas to check his pitchside monitor for a possible foul by Hibs’ Nectarios Triantis, with his arm on Gers defender John Souttar at a previous corner and he pointed to the spot.

Marshall blocked Tavernier’s penalty – as he had at Easter Road in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup earlier this month – but Wright followed up to hammer in the rebound, only for VAR to confirm he had encroached and a free-kick was given to the visitors.

Five minutes later, Tavernier made up for his mistake when he volleyed in from 16 yards after John Lundstram’s cross had only been partially cleared, with Hibs defender Will Fish unable to keep the ball out.

Seven minutes were added on at the end of the first half and Hibs took advantage to level. Elie Youan set up fellow attacker Maolida inside the box and he beat Connor Goldson, got in front of Tavernier and prodded the ball past Jack Butland.

Tension immediately engulfed Ibrox but that was alleviated in the sixth minute of added time when Dessers, who had moments earlier saw an effort saved by Marshall, headed a Cantwell cross in off the bar.

Hibs had to withstand more pressure at the start of the second half with Marshall making saves from Cantwell and Dessers but at 2-1 there was still underlying anxiety among Gers fans, erupting when Dessers failed to hit the target from eight yards from a Tavernier cut-back.

The game flattened out for a spell as both sides used their respective benches to change things up.

In the 77th minute Gers substitute Tom Lawrence opted to cut the ball back instead of shooting when through on the angle against Marshall and a glorious chance was gone.

However, another Rangers replacement, Matondo, took matters into his own hands when taking possession 20 yards from goal, sending the ball fizzing past the helpless Marshall and any nerves were banished.

James Tavernier insists Rangers cannot afford to linger on Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Motherwell as attention turns to the Europa League this week.

The Gers skipper scored his 21st goal of the season with a penalty to level a first-half opener by Theo Bair at Ibrox but Well defender Dan Casey headed in a winner in the 74th minute to give the impressive visitors their first cinch Premiership win at Ibrox since 1997.

It was the Light Blues’ first defeat of the year but they were given a title race reprieve when Celtic’s 2-0 defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday kept the Hoops trailing their Old Firm rivals by two points at the top of the table.

Rangers will park league concerns to prepare for the first-leg of their Europa League last-16 tie against Benfica in Lisbon on Thursday night and Tavernier believes they have to move on from the weekend wobble.

The full-back told RangersTV: “We can’t dwell on it too long.  We’ve got a really important Europa League game in midweek.

“We can’t dwell on it. We will analyse it and then move on.

“Disappointed but plenty of games to play. We’ve been in a good place before this so we just need to get back to that.

“Looking at our defending and how we started the game we were not really on the front foot, we let them get into the game with a goal and we made it an uphill battle.

“But we still asked questions and we obviously tried to fight until the end but just disappointed that we conceded two goals and didn’t get the three points.

“But there’s nine games to play and we’ll just we’ll fight all the way to the end.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell told the club’s official website how proud he was of his players’ application before leaving with a landmark result.

He said: “I believe I am a really humble person but I put great demands on my players.

“I thanked them for their efforts, I thanked them for how they performed because you sometimes take that as a given. They give me everything every single day.

“They are probably the most honest group of players I have ever worked with and every mistake they make is an honest mistake.

“Sometimes that brings frustration for the supporters, myself, the staff but I think you have to tip your cap to them.”

Dan Casey’s stunning second-half goal gave Motherwell a shock 2-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox and handed the initiative in the cinch Premiership title race back to Celtic.

Stuart Kettlewell’s side silenced most of Ibrox in the ninth minute with a goal from striker Theo Bair which left the Light Blues struggling to read an unexpected script.

Gers skipper James Tavernier scored from the spot on the hour after the VAR had intervened but Irish defender Casey restored the visitors’ lead with a close-range finish in the 74th minute for the first Well win in the league in Govan since 1997.

It was a first defeat in 12 games in all competitions for Philippe Clement’s side and although they remain two points clear of their Old Firm rival at the top of the table, Celtic get the chance to leapfrog them against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

Clement’s side had fought back to beat Kilmarnock 2-1 at Rugby Park on Wednesday night, which kept them ahead of the Hoops and it was widely believed that three more points would be garnered against the Steelmen.

Ridvan Yilmaz, Nico Raskin, Dujon Sterling and Cyriel Dessers came back in to the team amid the usual rotation.

Motherwell, with defender Shane Blaney and on-loan Blackburn striker Jack Vale returning, arrived in eighth place fresh from a 3-1 win at bottom side Livingston.

The visitors had the first chance when defender Bevis Mugabi headed a Blair Spittal corner over the bar but they did not miss the second. Vale got past defender John Souttar and cut the ball back for Bair to steer the ball past goalkeeper Jack Butland and in off the post for his sixth goal in nine games.

Dessers headed a Yilmaz past the post and Well keeper Liam Kelly punched a dipping shot from Mohamed Diomande past the post for a corner before Kelly made an even better save from Yilmaz’s swerving shot from distance.

The traffic towards the Motherwell goal was busy but in the 35th minute Spittal had a decent effort saved by Butland, before winger Ross McCausland was replaced by Fabio Silva after failing to shake off the effects of a crunching Casey tackle.

Silva weakly knocked a long pass from Connor Goldson into the arms of a grateful Kelly and Rangers’ best chance of the first-half was gone.

Tom Lawrence replaced Raskin for the start of the second half and within two minutes Dessers had the ball in the Well net from a yard out but the flag was up for an infringement as a clutch of players contested a high ball.

Soon after Spittal’s flick hit the crossbar at the other end, the Govan side were level.

There was a long VAR check for a penalty when Motherwell right-back Stephen O’Donnell tackled Silva inside the box and when referee Alan Muir checked his pitchside monitor and pointed to the spot, Tavernier smashed the ball high past Kelly for his 21st goal of the season.

The home fans roared Rangers on for a winner and Sterling missed the target when set up by John Lundstram.

However, sprightly Motherwell retained more than a hint of danger.

Bair got past Goldson to spring a Motherwell break but hit his pass straight at Souttar, although Casey made no mistake when he headed in Spittal’s deep cross to the back post.

Rangers threw everything forward in the final stages.

Kelly made good saves from Lundstram and Yilmaz and Goldson twice missed the target with headers from six yards and Well defender Paul McGinn cleared off the line.

But Casey’s goal was a blow from which Rangers did not recover and they will need to dig deep when they play the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie against Benfica in Lisbon on Thursday night.

Rangers maintained their advantage over Celtic at the top of the cinch Premiership but only after a hard-fought 2-1 comeback win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

Killie wide-man Danny Armstrong scored from the spot in the 11th minute of an energetic first half and Derek McInnes’ side were worth their interval lead.

The Gers had to dig deep and captain James Tavernier levelled in the 55th minute with a trademark free-kick before midfielder Tom Lawrence netted with a fine finish just four minutes later as the visitors reasserted themselves.

With 10 league games remaining – five before the split – Philippe Clement’s side are two points ahead of Celtic, who demolished Dundee 7-1 at Parkhead to keep hot on the heels of the Govan men.

The visitors had racked up 10 wins in a row with a 5-0 win over Hearts at the weekend, including a 3-1 win over Killie on January 2, the only defeat for the Ayrshire outfit in their last 14 outings.

Clement had noted the vagaries of the artificial surface and again tinkered with his squad to suit, making three changes with Borna Barisic, Ross McCausland and Fabio Silva coming back in while the home side were unchanged.

Silva had the first effort on goal after five minutes, his close-range shot deflected for a corner from which Rangers defender Connor Goldson’s header was pushed behind by Killie keeper Will Dennis.

Liam Donnelly came close with a header at the other end as Killie responded but moments later John Lundstram blocked an Armstrong cross with his arm and referee David Dickinson pointed to the spot.

Armstrong confidently beat Jack Butland with his penalty and yet another upset was on the cards.

Clement’s men appeared ill at ease as the route-one first-half unfolded further and Kilmarnock continued chasing and harrying.

There was some controversy in the 40th minute when Mohamed Diomande appeared to prevent Liam Polworth from cleanly latching on to his short pass, but Dickinson played on and was not required by VAR to check his pitchside monitor, to the ire of the home players and supporters.

Cyriel Dessers and Ridvan Yilmaz replaced Silva and Barisic for the start of the second half – Dujon Sterling would replace McCausland – but Butland soon had to make a fine one-handed save to prevent Matty Kennedy stroking in a second from six yards out.

Kilmarnock paid for that miss after defender Lewis Mayo fouled Lawrence 25 yards from goal, with Tavernier stepping up to send his curling shot past the diving Dennis.

Rain continued to swirl around the ground as Rangers went for the second, which came when Lawrence pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the box and guided his shot low past Dennis and into the far corner for his first goal of the season, sparking wild scenes of delight in the stand behind the goal which housed the visiting fans, some of whom spilled out.

The game had swung towards the rejuvenated Ibrox men and Dessers hit the bar from a Tavernier corner.

In the 70th minute, Oscar Cortes limped off with what looked like a hamstring problem to be replaced by Scott Wright and the game was still in the balance.

Diomande curled a shot past the far post from 16 yards as play sped from end to end and Dessers got tangled up as he tried to capitalise on a mistake by Killie centre-back Stuart Findlay.

Six minutes were added on but there were no more goals which meant a crucial three points for Rangers, but Celtic’s stunning win over Dundee confirmed there is still plenty left in the title race.

James Tavernier believes Philippe Clement is facing selection headaches after returning Rangers to the top of the cinch Premiership on Sunday.

Amid a busy fixture schedule, the Belgian boss again reshuffled his pack for the tense trip to St Johnstone, this time with five changes.

The 32-year-old Gers skipper scored two late penalties to add to Mohamed Diomande’s first-half opener in the 3-0 win.

Victory moved the Light Blues above Celtic at the top of the table, after being seven points behind their Old Firm rivals when Clement took over from Michael Beale in October.

Substitutes Dujon Sterling and Tom Lawrence won the spot-kicks to allow Tavernier to score his 18th and 19th goals of the season, 120 in total since arriving in Govan in 2015.

With the league, the Scottish Cup and Europa League still available – and the Viaplay Cup already in the Ibrox trophy room – Tavernier spoke about the strength in depth of the Rangers squad.

The full-back said: “It gives us huge confidence because what people don’t see is on the training ground we are all pushing each other and everyone is asking to be in the starting 11 and anybody who is asked to come on the pitch is putting in really good performances.

“So it is a headache for the gaffer to select the XI but anyone he selects is doing a really good job for the team and that is the main thing.

“As the gaffer said, we are creating a story together and we need everyone to chip in until the end of the season.

“It is a great place for the fans and the club.

“We feed off our performances and how well we are playing as a team, not letting teams get a shot on target against us.

“That’s what we aim for – the clean sheets and the variety of chances we are creating now is really pleasing, we are always asking questions.

“The scoreline could have been more and I am delighted it was 3-0, clean sheet and on to the next one. We always had belief in our team, the players that we have.

“The gaffer came in and upped the bar with the way we are playing, the demand that he wants for us all.

“We need to continue, not become complacent and keep demanding because there is still a long way to go in the competitions we are in and we just want to make the fans happy and us happy with our performances.”

Clement talked positively about the leaders he has in the dressing room and Tavernier agrees.

“We have great leaders in the squad,” he added. “We all feed off each other and the manager believes in the leadership and we continue to amplify his message towards the lads.

“It starts every day at training, really pushing our standards but there is no place for being complacent. We need to keep pushing ourselves to be better.”

Tavernier admitted that his goals tally was unthinkable when he arrived from Wigan almost nine years ago.

“Especially as I had only eight or nine goals before I joined Rangers,” he said.

“It’s obviously a great achievement. I just want to keep helping the team and pushing myself and see where it ends when I eventually hang up my boots one day.

“I was delighted with the three points we got on Sunday as well as the clean sheet. They didn’t have a shot on goal, which is the most important thing.”

Cyriel Dessers spoke of a growing “connection” with James Tavernier after the Rangers skipper set him up for a double in the 3-1 cinch Premiership win over Ross County on Wednesday night.

The Gers striker latched on to a pass from Tavernier after only five minutes at Ibrox to lob Staggies goalkeeper George Wickens and get the home side off to a flying start.

Philippe Clement’s men required a three-goal win against second-bottom County to go above leaders Celtic but they passed up several chances to stretch their lead – Dessers hit the post with one attempt – before Simon Murray levelled against the run of play.

Dessers grabbed his second from a Tavernier cross just before the break but there were more opportunities passed up in the second-half before defender John Souttar headed in a third, again from a delivery from the Ibrox captain, in the second of seven added minutes

Despite 23 shots on target, Rangers could only finish the game with three goals and although they moved level with Celtic on 61 points and on goal difference, they have scored four goals fewer to keep them second.

Dessers, who has now scored 14 goals this season, noted the contribution of the Light Blues’ right-back, saying: “It’s the small things, sometimes we just need eye contact to know what we’re doing.

“That’s the connection you work on in training and games and obviously, those things were not there in August or September, these things are growing and these goals are a good example but also it happened in December.

“Tav gets the balls there  – it’s the job of the striker to finish them.”

Rangers were seven points behind Celtic last October when Clement took over from Michael Beale but the Belgian boss has rejuvenated the club.

Clement has already brought the Viaplay Cup back to Ibrox and the Light Blues are in the last-16 of the Europa League.

Rangers have won seven in a row since the winter break and as the chase of Celtic in the title race continues – and the Gers take on Hibernian in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup – Dessers looked forward with optimism as he noted the appreciation of the fans who are becoming increasingly excited about their side’s performances.

He said: “The team and me are in a good place.

“Everyone is scoring and contributing and you also feel the atmosphere, especially in the last games, it’s becoming a little extra compared to the games before.

“We as players feel that as well. That’s really positive, a huge thing which can be a boost for the next 13 games in the league and hopefully that can make the difference.

“Obviously it is a good feeling to get recognition from the fans, it means I have been doing things well.

“Especially for a striker, it’s all in the package of the team.

“It’s a nice feeling and I think there is a really positive vibe in the stadium and the training ground.

“We’re in a good place and want to keep this going. Not just in the locker room but with the fans and we are on a good way with that.”

James Tavernier was the Rangers hero as the Light Blues picked up their first trophy of the Philippe Clement era with a 1-0 Viaplay Cup final win over Aberdeen.

The prolific Ibrox skipper rifled in the winner in the 75th minute of a hard-fought encounter at Hampden Park to hand his Belgian boss his first trophy after just a few months at Ibrox.

The victory completed the clean sweep of domestic trophy wins for the full-back and it also meant Clement remains unbeaten in 14 games since taking over from Michael Beale in October.

It was the 28th time the Ibrox club have won the trophy – the first since 2011 – and they still have interest in the title and Europa League this season, with the Scottish Cup yet to start, so Gers fans will be hoping more success is on its way.

Both sides went into the game on a wet and windy Glasgow afternoon in fine fettle.

Rangers’ stunning 3-2 win away to Real Betis on Thursday night took them into the last 16 of the Europa League. Although the Dons were already out of the Europa Conference League, their 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt was more than commendable.

There was a further boost with the return of forward Bojan Miovski from a hamstring issue while skipper Graeme Shinnie, Leighton Clarkson, Jamie McGrath, Nicky Devlin, Richard Jensen and Jonny Hayes also returned.

Leon Balogun, Todd Cantwell and Dujon Sterling were back for Rangers, who had not beaten their opponents in two games this season.

However, both sides were below par in the first half.

On the half-hour mark Gers attacker Abdallah Sima took a pass from Cantwell inside the Aberdeen box but his low drive on the turn, no more than decent, was saved by Dons keeper Kelle Roos.

Rangers winger Ross McCausland had the ball in the Aberdeen net in the 39th minute but referee Don Robertson had blown for an infringement inside the Dons box.

The first half ended with Aberdeen’s Stefan Gartenmann heading Clarkson’s free-kick wide from 14 yards before McCausland missed the target with a header from a Cantwell delivery.

More was expected after the interval.

Dons attacker Ester Sokler failed to get a touch on an inviting Devlin cross from just a few yards out and at the other end, Roos blocked a shot from McCausland who was on the stretch but the corner came to nothing.

Roos then made crucial saves from a Cyriel Dessers strike and free-kicks from Tavernier and left-back Borna Barisic before Balogun flashed the ball over the bar from a Cantwell cutback.

There was a Rangers penalty appeal when a shot from substitute Scott Wright, on for McCausland, hit the top of Gartenmann’s arm but play moved on – and soon the Light Blues were ahead.

Barisic made it to the byline and his deep cross from the left landed at Tavernier, who took a touch and fired it in off the ground past Roos to send the blue section of Hampden into raptures.

Aberdeen battled back and there were some nervy moments in the Gers defence. Close to the end of six added minutes, there was a goalmouth melee in the Rangers box involving several players  following a corner – a VAR check for a possible red card offence came to nothing, although it was not clear who was at risk.

The final whistle soon followed, as did Light Blue celebrations.

Rangers blew their chance of putting pressure on Celtic despite a late James Tavernier penalty giving them a 1-1 draw against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

The Light Blues saw a chink of title light on Saturday when the cinch Premiership leaders drew 1-1 at home to Motherwell but they fell behind after just 11 minutes to a Bojan Miovski strike after the static Gers defence had again been exposed.

Any time Rangers did get through Dons keeper Kelle Roos and the Aberdeen crossbar – the Gers hit the woodwork twice after the break – provided a formidable barrier.

However, in the final minute of normal time, after being sent by VAR Andrew Dallas to check his pitchside monitor, referee Nick Walsh pointed to the spot, judging Aberdeen’s Stefan Garternmann had pulled Connor Goldson’s jersey at a corner.

Skipper Tavernier converted the spot kick for a draw which keeps Celtic eight points clear at the top of the table albeit the Hoops have played one more game than their Old Firm rivals.

Philippe Clement has gone eight games unbeaten since becoming Gers boss but he will feel this was an opportunity missed against the side they meet in next month’s Viaplay Cup final at Hampden Park.

Aberdeen’s convincing 3-1 win at Ibrox in September ended Michael Beale’s time as Rangers boss and former Gers striker and current pundit Kris Boyd had added spice to the game by saying Aberdeen players, who lost 6-0 to Celtic in their last outing, would raise their game against the Light Blues.

The home side, who had Slovenian Ester Sokler making his first league start with winger Ryan Duncan and midfielder Jamie McGrath back in the team, certainly started with purpose.

Defender Slobodan Rubezic’s header from a Leighton Clarkson free-kick was saved by Gers keeper Jack Butland who, moments later, brilliantly denied Sokler with his left foot, after the forward had been sent racing clear of the Gers defence by Clarkson.

Rangers had Jose Cifuentes making his first start under Clements with fellow midfielders Todd Cantwell also returning along with Brazilian striker Danilo but it was midfielder Tom Lawrence who came close to getting the breakthrough, his drive saved by Roos.

The Dons keeper was the initial architect of the route-one opener, his long clearance headed on by Sokler with North Macedonia striker Miovski this time running past centre-backs Goldson and Leon Balogun before confidently guiding the ball low past Butland.

Slowly Rangers came back and a Cantwell pass which sped across the Aberdeen goal in the 25th minute was begging to be tapped in before Roos saved Danilo’s close-range effort with his foot.

The Pittodrie number one then made a magnificent save from Balogun’s header from Abdallah Sima’s cross before grabbing John Lundstram’s attempt from the rebound.

At the other end, as the Granite City men rallied, Butland parried clear a powerful 25-yard strike from McGrath, the last real goalmouth action of the first half.

Roos made another decent block from Danilo’s angled-drive early in the second half as the visitors went in search of a leveller.

Rangers kept Aberdeen pinned in their own half for large spells but the Dons defended diligently although in the 73rd minute Lawrence cracked the Dons bar with a 30-yard volley before Balogun hit the bar with a header from close range.

The Govan side kept pushing and got their reward with Tavernier’s late penalty with substitute Sam Lammer missing a good chance to win it in added time when he headed straight in to the arms of Roos.

James Tavernier missed a penalty and scored another as Rangers maintained their encouraging start under Philippe Clement with a comfortable 2-0 win away to struggling Livingston on Sunday.

Cyriel Dessers set the Ibrox men on their way to victory in the first half with his sixth goal of the season before captain Tavernier sealed the points with a second-half spot-kick after he had sent his earlier attempt from 12 yards out wide of the post.

Clement has now overseen seven games unbeaten – six of which have brought victories – since replacing Michael Beale last month.

After four consecutive defeats left his side bottom of the table prior to the visit of the on-form Ibrox men, Livi boss David Martindale made five changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Dundee last Sunday.

Goalkeeper Jack Hamilton, Miles Welch-Hayes, Jason Holt, Danny Lloyd and Stephen Kelly all dropped out to make way for Shamal George, Cristian Montano, Mo Sangare, Bruce Anderson and Luiyi de Lucas.

Clement freshened up his Rangers team for the trip to West Lothian, making four alterations to the XI that started Thursday night’s 2-1 win at home to Sparta Prague in the Europa League.

Ben Davies, Todd Cantwell, Sam Lammers and Danilo dropped out to be replaced by Leon Balogun, Dessers, Tom Lawrence and Ross McCausland, who was handed his first Gers start.

After enjoying a bright opening, the Ibrox side thought they had gone ahead in the 16th minute when Connor Goldson had the ball in the net from close range.

However, the goal was ruled out following a VAR check after Dessers was deemed to have been offside and interfering with play as he darted in at the near post and tried to get a touch on Tavernier’s inswinging free-kick. The wrong-footed Livi keeper George then pushed the ball out to Balogun, who in turn nodded it into the path of fellow centre-back Goldson.

Rangers created a good opening with a rapid counter-attack three minutes later but McCausland shot over after bursting on to a Lawrence pass.

The 20-year-old winger’s pace caused more problems for the Lions midway through the first half when he won a penalty after being brought down by George as he ran on to a Tavernier pass.

Tavernier, however, sent his spot kick wide of the goalkeeper’s left-hand post.

Rangers had been well on top and they made a deserved breakthrough in the 26th minute when a lovely pass from Lawrence released Nigerian forward Dessers, who got away from Sean Kelly to slot the ball behind the advancing George.

McCausland thought he had scored his first senior goal for Rangers when he fired the ball high into the net just before half-time but the goal was disallowed for a foul by Abdallah Sima.

Rangers continued to dominate after the break but – after struggling to create many clear chances – they had to wait until the 74th minute to put the game beyond their hosts.

Following a VAR check, it was deemed that the ball struck the arm of Michael Devlin as the Livi captain challenged Rangers forwards Danilo and Sima in the air while trying to defend a cross from the left from Borna Barisic.

This time Tavernier made no mistake in tucking the ball to the right of the helpless George as Rangers continued their strong start to Clement’s reign and left Livi at the foot of the table on goal difference from Ross County.

John Lundstram hailed “man mountain” skipper James Tavernier after he scored a double in Rangers’ 3-1 Viaplay Cup semi-final win over Hearts at Hampden Park.

The Gers right-back opened the scoring with an assured penalty five minutes after the interval before half-time substitute Scott Wright fired in a second five minutes later.

A trademark curling free-kick from Tavernier in the 64th minute made it three, with Hearts skipper Lawrence Shankland scoring from the spot late on, as Philippe Clement’s side sealed a place in the December 17 final against Aberdeen.

Midfield Lundstram said of Tavernier: “He is some player. I don’t think I can give him any more praise.

“He is captain of the club and he gets unfair criticism sometimes from you guys (in the media) and people outside and sometimes he doesn’t get enough credit when he gets us out of tough moments.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him. He is a man mountain – when the pressure is on he steps up.”

Clement is unbeaten in five games since taking over as manager from Michael Beale last month.

Lundstram described confidence at Ibrox as “really high” and added: “He has been so good since he came in.

“It’s hard to put your finger on just one thing. He has been a breath of fresh air. The mood around the place is just so much better.

“He has been fantastic with everyone and has emphasised how important everyone is in the group.”

Philippe Clement thanked the Rangers supporters for backing their team in the 5-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park but asked them to leave the pyrotechnics at home in future.

The match was delayed by 45 minutes after the Rangers team bus was held up in traffic and then suspended for 18 minutes after the travelling fans let off a large number of flares that triggered fire alarms under the stand.

Rangers were unaffected by either delay as they ran out comfortable winners thanks to goals from Ryan Jack, Danilo, Sam Lammers, Cyriel Dessers and James Tavernier.

Clement was pleased with his players’ focus but hoped there would not be future firework displays from the Rangers fanbase.

The Belgian said: “I expect a team that’s always ready no matter what happens, even if they say we have to play in the car park.

“We need to be ready because we play this game to win, so we must always be ready to adapt to the situations.

“The players were ready and after going inside again it was the same. Because you have five minutes in the dressing room it doesn’t mean you lose your focus.

“They need to be winners so whatever circumstances, whatever pitch, whatever weather, we are there to win games. That’s the mentality I want.

“I hope that the club does not face sanctions. You come here in the warm-up and the stand is full, everyone is chanting and supporting the players, giving a lot of energy.

“Those are very important things. We feel also the dynamic between fans and players is changing and it’s because of both sides.

“It was good the team started bright again, but I think everyone will understand that it’s really good to have all this support, all these songs and all this energy – I love it – but keep the fire outside of the stadium.”

Dundee boss Tony Docherty admitted he thought the game was going to be abandoned when referee Kevin Clancy took the players off the pitch.

He said: “It was a bizarre night and at one stage I thought the game wasn’t going to go ahead. I was trying to keep the boys focused.

“Then we start the game and because of the pyros we get brought in again. There’s a debate on whether there’s a place for that but the game was almost abandoned.

“The police took control and I didn’t think we were going to go back out again. That affects focus. When it’s almost causing matches to be abandoned I think we need to address it.”

Rangers crushed Dundee 5-0 in a cinch Premiership match that was delayed due to traffic and then briefly suspended following flares in the away end.

Ryan Jack’s strike had the visitors in front at half-time before four goals after the break from Danilo, Sam Lammers, Cyriel Dessers and James Tavernier extended their unbeaten run under new manager Philippe Clement to three games.

Dundee offered little as an attacking force, with Amadou Bakayoko seeing his second-half effort well saved by Jack Butland.

Kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes after the Rangers team bus was caught up in traffic congestion crossing the Tay Bridge.

Play was then suspended not long after kick-off for a further 18 minutes after flares lit by the visiting supporters set off fire alarms in the stand, with referee Kevin Clancy taking the players off the pitch.

Dundee made three changes following their win away to Livingston. In came Ricki Lamie, Bakayoko and Scott Tiffoney, with Jordan McGhee, Lyall Cameron and Zak Rudden dropping out.

Rangers, in turn, made four changes from the team that defeated Hearts. Out went Nicolas Raskin, Todd Cantwell, Ben Davies and Dessers, replaced by Jack, Leon Balogun, Scott Wright and Danilo.

Rangers started brightly when the game finally got going and Abdallah Sima slid a chance just wide after being played in by Ridvan Yilmaz.

The Light Blues, though, moved in front with their next attack. Balogun sent Danilo running in and when Trevor Carson spilled the Brazilian’s cross, Jack was on hand to sweep in the rebound.

Dundee replied through a Tiffoney cross that Balogun did well to head away from danger.

Carson partially redeemed for his error with a point-blank range save from Danilo, although the offside flag would likely have ruled the goal out in any case.

Malachi Boateng then had a go at the other end but Butland, in the Rangers goal, made a comfortable save.

Danilo ought to have put Rangers two in front early after the restart but, after doing well to create a shooting chance from a long ball, he blazed his effort well off target.

He was far more clinical after 51 minutes when the visitors doubled their lead. Sima teed him up and Danilo finished well beyond Carson into the far corner.

At the other end Butland pulled off a double save to deny first Luke McCowan and then Bakayoko as Dundee looked to narrow the deficit.

Instead it was Rangers who pulled away, scoring three more times.

Lammers claimed the first with a stunning long-range effort before teeing up Dessers who finished well despite Dundee protests for a foul in the build-up.

Tavernier claimed the fifth from the spot after Cameron was adjudged to have fouled Dessers.

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