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Thursday 14 December 2017

Smith hopeful cup distraction will revive Gers

Rangers manager Walter Smith is hoping a break from league action will rejuvenate his players for the title run-in after watching them grind out a win at Kilmarnock.

Goals from Steven Whittaker and Kenny Miller were enough to secure the victory which allowed the champions to restore their 13-point advantage at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

Rangers now face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup this weekend, before contesting St Mirren for the first silverware of the season when they meet in the League Cup final.

And, despite their commanding position, Smith feels some respite from the SPL is coming at the right time after less than convincing wins against Saints and Killie in the wake of their dramatic Old Firm triumph and the international break.

He said: "I was a little bit concerned. I didn't think we reached a great level on Saturday against St Mirren; in the first half in this game we didn't either.

"We've got two cup ties now, which takes us out of the league campaign, and that will give us an opportunity to freshen up and get ready for the remaining league games."

Reflecting on the clash at Rugby Park, the Rangers boss added: "It was a satisfying result for us. It was a poor first half from ourselves and Kilmarnock were the better side."

Killie boss Jimmy Calderwood felt his players should have taken advantage of an impressive first half but admits facing a Rangers team who are capable of finding the back of the net from a number of positions -- full-back Whittaker now has 11 for the season -- is always going to be tough.

"That's the quality they've got," he said.

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