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Whitt a relief as talks start; GERS TALKS.

Byline: Keith Jackson; Chris Roberts

RANGERS scraped past Dundee into the semi-finals of the Co-Operative Insurance Cup last night - as frantic negotiations were taking place behind the scenes in a bid to push through a takeover of the crisis-hit club.

Record Sport understands a series of top-level talks spanning three continents were on-going as Walter Smith's side struggled to a 3-1 win at Dens Park against the First Division leaders.

South African-based tycoon Dave King is believed to be spearheading the push to wrench control of the club from bankers Lloyds but it is believed his rescue bid may have the backing of at least one more party.

Rumours were rife last night that Lanarkshire multi-millionaire Douglas Park has teamed up with King in an attempt to save the Ibrox club from the clutches of the money men.

But Park - who made his fortune running a bus group - denied any involvement in the bid when contacted by Record Sport .

Ibrox chairman Alastair Johnston, meanwhile, was at home in the United States attempting to help bring a buyer to the table as, on the pitch, a young Rangers side finally overcame Dundee on a tense evening.

Walter Smith named an unfamiliar line-up for the trip to Tayside and they were given a scare before booking a place in the last four.

Steven Whittaker bundled home John Fleck's corner to give Gers an early lead when Gary Harkins and Gary MacKenzie were both guilty of switching off. Jocky Scott's men briefly threatened a shock when they hit back to equalise before the interval in stunning style, Leigh Griffiths' sizzling free-kick leaving keeper Neil Alexander helpless.

That prompted some fine football from the First Division side but they fell behind again after the break when MacKenzie directed Whittaker's cross past Tony Bullock from close range.

Dundee pushed hard for a leveller to force extra-time but Rangers caught them on the break with five minutes left when Nacho Novo found John Fleck to net Gers'third.

CAPTION(S):

MOB RULE: Gers stars pile on to Steven Whittaker after his early opener at Dens Park
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 28, 2009
Words:349
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