Dundee Utd 0-1 Rangers
Last updated on .From the section Football
Rangers edged out 10-man Dundee United at Tannadice to stay on top of the Scottish Premier League.
Johnny Russell was sent off after half an hour for stupidly aiming a headbutt at Kirk Broadfoot.
Rangers made their advantage count when Kyle Lafferty nodded home from a Gregg Wylde cross on 61 minutes.
A Steven Davis shot struck both posts as the visitors pressed for second goal, while United battled gamely and were always a threat.
But, despite a host of chances at either end, there was to be no further scoring and Rangers kept a fifth successive SPL clean sheet to earn maximum points.
Rangers were under early pressure, following a poor kick out from Allan McGregor and the goalkeeper was relieved to see Willo Flood's deflected strike whistle inches wide of his post.
On 14 minutes, a clever pass from Juan Manuel Ortiz found Lafferty inside the penalty box but the striker's shot on the turn was smothered by United keeper Dusan Pernis.
A delivery from Wylde looped off United defender Garry Kenneth and fell for Steven Naismith in front of goal but the Scotland international hammered his first-time shot over the crossbar from six yards.
With the game being played at a cracking pace, Danny Swanson stung McGregor's palms with a long-range effort and Kenneth went close with a header from a corner.
The game suddenly swung in Rangers' favour on 30 minutes when Russell and Broadfoot became embroiled in an argument and the United striker was sent off for foolishly aiming a headbutt at his opponent.
Rangers should have broken the deadlock soon after when Maurice Edu found Naismith with a smart, lofted pass but the forward was again wasteful in front of goal, shooting wide from near the penalty spot.
The powerful Kenneth threatened with another header from a corner, while Lafferty did well to dribble down the byeline only to see his drilled shot kept out by a combination of Pernis and post.
The second half started with a long-range strike from Lafferty skidding into the arms of Pernis and the keeper was then able to thwart the same player with a block inside the six yard box.
However, the big Northern Ireland striker was not be denied and he found the net with a powerful header after connecting with an excellent cross from Wylde.
A thunderous, low strike from John Rankin bounced awkwardly off the chest of McGregor before a huge slice of fortune for the home side.
Davis glided through the United defence and placed a shot beyond Pernis but the ball cannoned off both posts before bobbling off to safety.
Kenneth made a sliding clearance to keep out a Naismith effort before United duo Swanson and Rankin smashed strikes wide of the target, the latter's attempt taking a layer of paint off the post.