Motherwell, Scotland – Steven Naismith and Kyle Lafferty had half goals to lead Rangers to a 3-0 win over Motherwell on Sunday at Fir Park in the Scottish Premier League.
Rangers recovered from its Europa League defeat Thursday to Slovenia's Maribor as Naismith scored on 20 minutes and Lafferty doubled the lead just before the halftime whistle.
Greg Wylde bagged a third goal five minutes from time to secure Rangers' third win of the young season, and keep the three-time defending champions unbeaten. Rangers has three wins and a draw in league play.
Motherwell lost for the first time in five matches, but are still level on 10 points with Rangers. Rangers sits atop the standings on goal differential.
But for Rangers, this match was more important than league play as it provided a huge boost ahead of Thursday's second leg at Ibrox against Maribor.
Rangers was ousted in the Champions League qualifying rounds by Sweden's Malmo and faces the same fate this week if it fails to overturn a 2-1 score from the first leg against the Slovenian side.
Even another SPL title would lose some luster this season should the club fail to advance to group play in the Europa League.
Rangers' trio of U.S. players - Maurice Edu, Carlos Bocanegra and Alejandro Bedoya - were unavailable for various reasons, but Naismith headed home early for his second goal and Lafferty scored from a tight angle for his third.
Motherwell was efficient, as it put all five of its shots on goal, but Rangers added the final goal from Wylde to seal the needed victory.
St. Johnstone 1, Celtic 0
Glasgow, Scotland - Peter Enckelman saved Kris Commons' penalty in the third minute and Dave MacKay scored in the 60th as St Johnstone stunned Celtic, 1-0, on Sunday in the Scottish Premier League for its first win at Parkhead in 13 years.
St Johnstone was winless entering the game, and Commons' early penalty gave an early opportunity for Celtic to take control of the match, but Enckelman saved the penalty at the bottom left, and the Glasgow giants never recovered.
MacKay added the winner 15 minutes after half with a right-footed shot to the lower-left corner to earn his side its first win of the season, while handing Celtic its first loss.
Kilmarnock 0, Hearts 0
Kilmarnock, Scotland - Kilmarnock posted a 0-0 draw against Hearts at Rugby Park on Sunday to remain unbeaten through four matches in the Scottish Premier League.
Kilmarnock has three draws and a win after four games, while Hearts earned its second draw to go with one win after five matches.