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Scotland round-up: Rangers widen gap

Rangers FC moved eight points clear at the top of the table when they beat Partick Thistle FC.

Rangers FC moved eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League as they beat Partick Thistle FC on Saturday – and 24 hours later Celtic were held by Dundee FC.

Burchill returns to haunt Celtic
Celtic, who face Boavista FC in the UEFA Cup semi-finals on Thursday, still have two games in hand, but they lost ground on Rangers despite going ahead on ten minutes through an Alan Thompson header following a John Hartson flick-on. Mark Burchill, sold by Celtic manager Martin O'Neill three years ago and currently on loan at Dundee from England's Portsmouth FC, returned to haunt his former club as he tapped in after being set up by an excellent solo run by Fabian Caballero ten minutes later.

Rangers made to work
Partick made Rangers work hard for their victory, Michael Mols not giving the leaders the advantage until the 70th minute, when he headed in. Mols scored another five minutes later, and an excellent performance from Stefan Klos in the Rangers goal ensured there would be no Partick comeback.

Motherwell beaten
However, Partick are still four points off the bottom of the table in tenth after Motherwell FC and Dundee United FC both lost. Basement side Motherwell lost 3-0 at Dunfermline Athletic FC, going behind on 18 minutes to a Steven Hampshire goal. Tony Vaughan became the tenth Motherwell player to be sent off this season late in the first half, and Barry Nicholson and Noel Hunt added further Dunfermline goals after the break.

Hearts comeback
Meanwhile, Dundee United took a 40th-minute lead at Heart of Midlothian FC through Andy Griffin's 20-metre free-kick. However, Andy Webster levelled on 69 minutes and Andy Kirk won the game for Hearts with 12 minutes remaining to keep Dundee United just a point ahead of Motherwell having played a game more.

Spectacular McSwegan
Hearts are still three points clear of Kilmarnock FC with a game in hand in the race for the third-place UEFA Cup berth. But Kilmarnock showed their intent on Saturday with a 6-2 home win against Hibernian FC. Gary McSwegan scored two goals in both halves to star in what was a memorable individual performance for the one-time Rangers player. Hibernian, in seventh, are now a point behind Dundee with only a single game to go before the league splits into two groups of six.

Sheerin winner
Aberdeen FC will definitely be in the bottom six, but they seem to have secured their Premier Division status after coming from behind to beat Livingston FC 2-1. Stuart Lovell put Livingston ahead on two minutes, but Derek Young and Paul Sheerin struck to give Aberdeen a valuable away win.

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