Dunfermline Athletic 0-4 Rangers

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland

Steven Naismith scored twice as Rangers returned to winning ways by easing aside Dunfermline Athletic to consolidate their table-top position.

The champions, knocked out of the League Cup in midweek, were ahead after nine minutes when Carlos Bocanegra rose to loop a header into the corner.

United States team-mate Maurice Edu fired the second from 22 yards eight minutes later.

Steven Naismith scored on the break after 51 and 81 minutes.

And the victory means the reigning champions stretched their lead to seven points ahead of second-top Celtic's afternoon meeting with the Scottish Premier League's bottom side, Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Carlos Bocanegra (right) celebrates
Bocanegra (right) opened the scoring for Rangers against Dunfermline

Edu, Naismith, Nikica Jelavic and goalkeeper Allan McGregor had returned to the Rangers side as manager Ally McCoist reverted to the starting 11 that defeated Celtic following the shock exit at the hands of Falkirk.

Andrew Barrowman was chosen ahead of Andy Kirk up front for Dunfermline as Jim McIntyre looked to capitalise on the former Ross County forward's greater mobility.

Barrowman just failed to find advancing midfielder Paul Burns with a clever ball over the Rangers defence, but the visitors were ahead after their first spell of pressure.

Goalkeeper Paul Gallacher produced a superb instinctive save when a curling Gregg Wylde free-kick was flicked on by the head of Naismith.

However, from the corner, Bocanegra shrugged off weak marking to send a header into the corner from 12 yards from Steven Davis's outswinging cross.

The Pars remained positive and ought to have made more of an opportunity presented to them when Sasa Papac lost the ball to Jason Thomson.

Rangers' second goal came as easily as the first when Jelavic laid the ball off to Edu, who sent a dipping left-foot drive from 22 yards past the fingertips of a surprised Gallacher.

Burns tested McGregor with a 25-yard drive and the midfielder's follow-up effort was blocked after the goalkeeper could only beat the ball away.

Rangers were looking to kill off the Pars on the break, but Gallacher managed to smother a low Wylde drive at the second attempt.

Dunfermline's hopes of repeating their two-goal fightback of last week against Hibs finally disappeared only five minutes into the second half.

Davis threaded an excellent ball behind the defence and Naismith lifted it past the arms of the advancing Gallacher from 16 yards.

McGregor prevented the Pars reducing the deficit when the goalkeeper got down well to stop a low David Graham drive after Barrowman rolled it into the forward's path.

Gallacher turned over a curling Jelavic free-kick and pushed wide a dipping 30-yard volley from Steven Whittaker as Dunfermline were left exposed as they opened up in their search for a way back into the game.

Rangers broke clear to score 10 minutes from time when Davis thrust forward before setting up Jelavic, who rolled the ball into the path of Naismith.

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