( AFP ) - Rangers won 2-0 at home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle to stay three points behind Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic on Saturday.
It took less than a minute for Kris Boyd to put the Ibrox side ahead and Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar made sure all three points would stay in Glasgow, scoring with a header in the second half.
Walter Smith was pleased with the win but admitted his side's fantastic start may have hindered their overall performance.
The Rangers manager said: "After getting the goal so early we seemed to relax and, although we had plenty of possession, the tempo went down, which was a little bit disappointing from our point of view.
"I thought we were better in the second half and finished the game brighter than we started it and it was an important win."
Rangers' victory was vital to prevent them falling any further behind Old Firm rivals Celtic who had earlier won 2-1 at Kilmarnock.
Again Australian striker Scott McDonald was the Parkhead club's goal hero with his first half brace, in the 34th and 36th minutes - taking his tally to 13 goals in 16 games - putting them on the road to victory.
Frazer Wright pulled one back for Killie in the second half.
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan was happy with his side's showing in the first half but admitted Killie's second half performance had him worried.
He said: "I was surprised with our first half performance as we created plenty of chances and I don't think we've played as well as that at Rugby Park since I've been here.
"But Killie got a goal back and we seemed to be in shock after that
"It might have been a good game to watch it wasn't good for the Celtic coaches after being two goals up.
At Ibrox Boyd had put Rangers ahead with only 35 seconds on the clock.
Spanish forward Nacho Novo turned his marker then slid a perfectly weighted pass through to Boyd to put him clean through on goal and he fired low past Caley goalkeeper Michael Fraser for his eighth goal of the season.
Boyd nearly doubled his side's advantage in the 17th minute when he got on the end of Novo's cross to blast over from six-yards.
Rangers made a double substitution in the 60th minute, with Novo and Boyd making way for Gabon striker Daniel Cousin and Jean-Claude Darcheville.
And within two minutes French forward Darcheville knocked Alan Hutton's cross onto Cueller at the back post and his header looped over Fraser and into the net.
Caley manager Craig Brewster was proud his players had not thrown in the towel after their dreadful start.
He said: "We had a mountain to climb after the first minute. This is a really good Rangers side and the last thing you need is to go behind so early.
"It's always a bonus if you get anything at Ibrox, though, and we showed good character not to lose the plot after that goal."
In the other SPL games on Saturday Aberdeen won 2-0 at home to Dundee United, with Sone Aluko and Lee Miller grabbing the goals.
United finished the match with only nine men after captain Barry Robson and Lee Wilkie were sent-off near the end.
Falkirk won 2-0 at home to bottom of the table Gretna.
Darren Barr's header put the Bairns ahead on the stroke of half time and Irish striker Graham Barrett doubled their advantage in the second half.
And Motherwell and St Mirren drew 1-1 at Fir Park. Chris Porter put Well ahead but Stewart Kean levelled before the break.