18.12.2021 18:12 h

Tavernier penalty stretches Rangers' lead

Rangers moved seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership on Saturday as the champions needed a James Tavernier penalty 19 minutes from time to beat coronavirus-hit Dundee United 1-0 at Ibrox.

In contrast to the mass postponements in English football due to a surge in positive Covid-19 cases, all four games in the top-flight in Scotland went ahead on Saturday.

United were hit by an outbreak earlier this week and needed to field a youthful side with four teenagers among the starting line-up.

However, they pushed Rangers all the way to protect Giovanni Van Bronckhorst's perfect record in the league since taking charge last month.

United's victory in their previous meeting in August is the only league match Rangers have lost in their last 57 league games.

And they nearly frustrated the Gers once more but for Scott McMann's handball from a corner.

Rangers captain Tavernier slammed home the resulting spot-kick, but the hosts still had to ride their luck for all three points when Nicky Clark's header came off the bar in stoppage time.

Celtic face Hibernian in the League Cup final on Sunday, with their game in hand over Rangers against St Mirren on Wednesday in doubt.

St Mirren cancelled training on Friday after registering multiple positive coronavirus cases.

Hearts extended their advantage in third behind the Old Firm thanks to a 1-0 win at Dundee.

Jamie Walker scored the only goal 15 minutes from time in a match threatened by the weather conditions rather than the pandemic as thick fog descended on Dens Park.

St Johnstone, who won both domestic cups last season, remain rooted to the bottom of the table after a 2-0 defeat at Motherwell.

Ross County edged a point ahead of the Saints despite conceding a last minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Livingston.