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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

SPL: Smith sent off for Rangers, Stokes fires

Walter Smith was sent to the stand and Rangers and Kilmarnock were both reduced to 10 men as they battled out an explosive goalless draw in the Premier League.

• Read all the reports in our SPL section

Pedro Mendes was dismissed shortly before half-time - the third Rangers player to see red this season after Kevin Thomson and Madjid Bougherra - and Smith's complaints earned him a seat in the Rugby Park stand.

Manuel Pascali then followed Mendes down the tunnel late in the game, with neither side able to find the goal that would seal the three points. That result means that Celtic can seize top spot with victory over Hearts.

Hibernian are up to third after Anthony Stokes opened his account for the club with a double that saw off St Johnstone in a 3-0 win.

Stokes fired Hibs ahead against the run of play with an opportunist strike from 18 yards. Derek Riordan doubled the lead before half-time with a long-range drive and Stokes curled home a free-kick to remove any doubt about the destiny of the points.

Ross Forbes scored the winner but John Ruddy was the real hero as Motherwell maintained their unbeaten start to the season and ended Dundee United's in a 1-0 win at Tannadice.

Forbes netted his sixth goal of the campaign from the spot after Jim O'Brien had mesmerised Sean Dillon into bringing him down in the box with 24 minutes remaining.

On-loan Everton goalkeeper Ruddy then pulled off a simply unbelievable triple-save to deny Darren Dods, Danny Cadamarteri and Andy Webster, all from point-blank range, as United blew the chance to go level with Rangers at the summit, instead allowing Motherwell up to fourth.

Aberdeen sit fifth after a majestic free-kick from Charlie Mulgrew gave the Dons their first home win of the season, 1-0, over 10-man St Mirren.

A dull spectacle came to life in the closing stages when the former Celtic and Dundee United man curled the ball into the back of the net to earn his side all three points.

Lee Mair, playing against his former side following his summer switch to the Buddies, was given his marching orders for dissent after the goal to cap off a disappointing day for Gus MacPherson's men.

Falkirk striker Carl Finnigan's disallowed goal against Hamilton was the most contentious issue in a drab 0-0 draw at New Douglas Park. Accies keeper Tomas Cerny was the busier goalkeeper with his first-half block from Kjartan Finnbogason's volley the pick of his saves.

However, Finnigan did beat him with a close-range header seven minutes from the break, only to see it ruled out by referee Willie Collum for a foul on Accies defender Martin Canning.

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