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United can't spoil Smith send off

10 May 2011 23:00:02

United can't spoil Smith send off

Rangers moved to within touching distance of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title as they marked manager Walter Smith's final game at Ibrox with a 2-0 win over Dundee United.Goals from Nikica Jelavic and Kyle Lafferty sealed the points, with the Scottish champions now hoping to wrap up the championship in the last match of the season against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Sunday - assuming Celtic do not lose at Hearts on Wednesday night and gift the trophy to their bitter rivals.Fans paid their own tribute to the outgoing manager in the form of a banner which stated his achievements over two spells at Rangers: 'League champions nine times, Scottish Cup winners five times, League Cup winners six times, thank you Walter Smith' but on the pitch, they could have been ahead far earlier when a Steven Davis corner broke for Steven Whittaker and his long, low shot was blocked before Jelavic saw his rebound strike smothered by goalkeeper Dusan Pernis.Lafferty's ferocious shot then crashed off the post but the home side's hard work paid off when they netted two quick-fire goals in the space of four minutes.Jelavic set the ball rolling after 21 minutes when he met Whittaker's cross and bulleted a header past the grasp of the United goalkeeper from 10 yards. And Lafferty then raced on to a lovely through ball from Steven Naismith before stroking a right-footed shot into the back of the net to double the advantage.After the break, United could have hauled themselves back into the game when Craig Conway's corner found Scott Robertson, but his bullet header was held by goalkeeper Allan McGregor. And any hopes of a United comeback should have been snuffed out when Maurice Edu won a free-kick just outside the area and Jelavic's swerving effort fell just off-target.


PA

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