Rangers moved seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League after a nervous win over Dunfermline.

Alex Keddie's own goal gave Rangers the lead before Nikica Jelavic's penalty doubled the advantage.

But Joe Cardle reduced the Pars' deficit before half-time with an impressive strike.

Goalkeeper Paul Gallacher denied Jelavic in the second half and Andrew Barrowman and Keddie missed good chances to level for Dunfermline.

Second-place Celtic can reduce the gap back to four points if they beat Dundee United on Sunday while the Pars slip one place to 11th in the table, a point above bottom club Aberdeen.

Rangers started positively with Sone Aluko driving at the Dunfermline defence early on and setting up Jelavic, who shot wide from six yards.

Jelavic was off-target again minutes later when he got his head to a Steven Davis cross.

Aluko could not keep his shot down before Gregg Wylde's drive was brilliantly saved by Gallacher.

But despite the growing pressure from the hosts it was a Dunfermline player who gave Rangers the lead and through little fault of his own.

Gallacher could have picked the ball up but elected to kick it hastily and Keddie inadvertedly diverted the ball into the net.

The piercing runs of Aluko continued to cause the visitors problems and the winger won a spot-kick when he was adjudged to have been felled by Martin Hardie.

Jelavic converted by firing high into the net from 12 yards.

Sone Aluko and David Graham

Aluko (left) was a persistent threat to the Dunfermline defence

Dunfermline stemmed the tide with a rare foray forward and found themselves back in the match through Cardle's strike.

The winger retrieved Martin Hardie's pass, cut inside and beat Allan McGregor at his near post.

Rangers tried to reassert themselves and Davis stung the palms of Gallacher before Wylde hammered a shot across the face of goal.

Aluko's attempt was blocked by Keddie in the opening moments of the second half and then Jelavic headed wide from Wylde's delivery.

Gallacher made another important block to turn a Jelavic shot wide.

The Pars pressed for an equaliser and Cardle's cross found Barrowman in the six-yard box only for the striker to blast over.

Kyle Lafferty, a replacement for debutant Thomas Kind Bendiksen, headed into the arms of Gallacher and then fired wide from Aluko's pass.

Aluko was next to miss the target, his 20-yard drive rising over the bar.

Keddie headed over from Pat Clarke's late corner and with that Dunfermline's chances of taking a point evaporated.

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