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By ESPN Staff

SPL: Hearts, Rangers win as race hots up

GLASGOW, April 8 (Reuters) - Rangers beat Motherwell 1-0 with a Kris Boyd winner to keep the pressure on second-placed Hearts in the Scottish Premier League on Saturday.

Manager Alex McLeish savoured the victory and praised goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus after the Dutchman was booed by a section of the Rangers support for comments attributed to him in a Dutch soccer magazine.

"It was disappointing to hear that (the booing), but I think he won them over with some saves and that brilliant save from Richie Foran," said McLeish.

"We were defending deep and Jim Hamilton caused a problem for us. But Ronald had a great game and what a fantastic save."

Rangers and Hearts are battling for the second Champions League slot after Celtic tied up the title in midweek. Hearts have 65 points and Rangers 62 from 33 games each.

Belgian international Thomas Buffel set up the chance for Boyd to crash a 10-metre shot into the roof of the net after 27 minutes and skipper Barry Ferguson later struck a post.

Hearts romped to a 4-0 win at home to Dunfermline with first half goals from Czech Republic pair Michal Pospisil and Roman Bednar plus Lithuanian Saulius Mikoliuna putting them in the driving seat.

Finnish player Juho Makela added the fourth with seven minutes left.

Dunfermline's misery was complete with the dismissal of Greg Ross with three minutes remaining.

Aberdeen beat Hibernian 1-0 with a Scott Severin first half goal while Falkirk racked up their first home league win this season with a 1-0 victory over Dundee United thanks to a Jack Ross goal.

Bottom club Livingston won 2-1 at home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Champions Celtic, with 82 points from 32 games, play at Kilmarnock on Sunday.