Ibrox Defeat Leaves Hibs With Mountain To Climb
Hibs hopes of promotion hang by a thread after losing 2-0 to Rangers at Ibrox tonight in the 1st leg of the play-off semi-finals.
Head Coach Alan Stubbs made two changes to the starting XI that beat Falkirk 18 days ago, with David Gray replacing the injured Fraser Forster and Fraser Fyvie taking over from Martin Boyle.
Since then, the Hibs players have had a week’s training session in Spain whilst Rangers have had two tough games at Palmerston and Ibrox.
Rangers manager Stuart McCall named the same team that progressed to the semi-final with a 1-1 draw against Queen of the South last weekend.
The reduced price policy paid dividends and the game kicked off in front of a large and noisy Ibrox Park.
Hibs started brightly and Liam Craig went close with an early shot then sent another just over the bar.
Midway through the first half Scott Allan set up Dominique Malonga but his cross was scrambled clear. Allan then found Malonga again and he sent a dangerous cross to the back post which was just missed by Jason Cummings.
Rangers then had two free kicks from dangerous positions before Hibs won four successive corners.
Just before half time, Rangers grabbed the lead when on loan midfielder Haris Vuckic collected the ball in midfield and found Fraser Foster with an inch perfect pass. The full back then did well to cut the ball back into the path of Nicky Clark who side footed the ball into the net.
Vuckic brought out a good save from Oxley just after the restart then Malonga should have equalised when he had a free header in the box from Allan’s corner but he mistimed his effort and the ball flew over the bar.
Allan was forced to complain about being bombarded by plastic display cards every time he took a corner.
In the 63rd minute, Rangers added a second when ex Hibs striker Kenny Miller was first to react to a loose ball in the penalty box and slotted the ball into the net sparking wild scenes from the home support.
Dylan McGeouch immediately replaced Scott Robertson as Rangers pressed forward looking to put the tie beyond Hibs.
Lewis Stevenson then did well to set up Cummings but the teenagers strike from 15 yards flew well over the bar.
Malonga and Cummings tried to take advantage of a mix up in the Rangers’ defence with time running out then Hibs had a penalty claim when Cummings was bundled over inside the area but the referee waved play on.
In time added on Oxley produced a great save from Foster to keep the score at 2-0.
Rangers: Bell, Foster, Zaliukas, McGregor, Wallace, Shiels, Law, Vuckic, Murdoch, Miller, Clark. Subs: Robinson, McCulloch, Smith, Black, Walsh, Ferguson, Boyd.
Hibs: Oxley, Gray, Hanlon, Fontaine, Stevenson, Rovertson, Allan, Craig, Fyvie, Malonga, Cummings. Subs: Cerny, El Alagui, Stanton, Handling, McGeough, Djedje, Dunsmore.