Sunday, September 12, 2010
Maurice Edu returned to the starting lineup for Rangers who slipped past Hamilton on Saturday to maintain their perfect record in the Scottish Premier League.
Rangers 2 - 1 Hamilton
A late Kenny Miller goal propelled Rangers to victory over Hamilton at New Douglas Park to give the Light Blues their fourth straight win to open the season.
Edu started in Walter Smith's midfield and went the distance in the victory that gives the Glasgow squad a boost of confidence heading into their midweek Champions League showdown with Manchester United.
Dressed in all-black uniforms, a rarity for the club, Rangers came out of the gate firing on all cylinders.
New arrival Nikica Jelavic scored the goal in the sixth minute but the bulk of the credit should go to Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty who burst past two Hamilton defenders down the left side before swinging a cross into the area that Jelavic headed in.
Rangers had a few more chances before the break but could never find the final touch.
That lack of finishing came back to haunt them 11 minutes into the second half when Algerian defender Madjid Bougherra was the victim of the dreaded own-goal.
Flavio Paixao sent a cross deep into the Rangers area that was relatively harmless yet when Bougherra tried to clear the ball, he managed to redirect it into his own net and all of the sudden the hosts were level with the two-time defending league champions.
Sensing a loss in momentum, Smith wisely called on the league's leading scorer to warm up and in the 72nd minute Miller was brought onto the field.
The Scottish international, who had helped rescue his country from a Euro 2012 qualifier debacle versus Liechenstein in midweek, proved to be the difference again for the visitors.
Just one minute from time, Lee McCulloch found his international teammate who cooly lobbed the ball into the net for the gamewinner.
Edu and the rest of the Rangers defense locked down the match in second half stoppage time to help ensure the three points.
The native Californian was solid all day disrupting plenty of Hamilton attacks, forcing goal kicks and even assisting on the offensive end with some long throw-ins.
The US international was also on the wrong end of an elbow to the head but after a few minutes, he regained his footing and had no issues playing out the match.
His performance will certainly at least warrant discussion of being able to start Tuesday night at Old Trafford.
The win helps Rangers keep pace with Celtic in the SPL standings after their crosstown rivals' 3-0 win over Hearts.
After Tuesday contest with Manchester United, Edu and company will face Dundee United.
Dominic Cervi did not make the gameday roster in Celtic's victory over Hearts.