GLASGOW, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Champions Rangers edged out Motherwell 1-0 with a Peter Lovenkrands goal in their Scottish Premier League match on Sunday.
The Danish striker lashed in a five-metre volley after Marvin Andrews had nodded the ball down from the back of the box in the 55th minute.
But Rangers had to rely on Dutch keeper Ronald Waterreus pulling off vital saves from Motherwell's Scott McDonald and Phil O'Donnell to preserve the lead.
"It was frantic. We knew Motherwell would come right out the traps and the script was exactly as I said before the game," Rangers manager Alex McLeish told BBC Radio Scotland.
"They gave us a right hard game, but we rolled our sleeves up in the first half. The second half was a battle but we got in front.
"We had some desperate defending and some fantastic saves from Ronnie Waterreus. (Motherwell manager) Terry (Butcher) will be gutted no to take something from the game."
Rangers are fourth in the standings with 37 points from 22 games, 17 points behind leaders Celtic who beat Kilmarnock 4-2 at home on Saturday. Hearts are second with 47 points following their emphatic 4-1 victory at Dunfermline.
New Dundee United manager Craig Brewster made a winning start as a late goal from substitute Derek McInnes secured a 2-1 win over Falkirk.
Brewster was appointed on Friday to replace Gordon Chisholm who was sacked after 10 months in the job.
United are ninth with 24 points from 22 matches.