Hibernian dent Rangers title hopes with home hammering
Hibernian secured their biggest victory over Rangers since 1912 as a turbulent week for the Glasgow giants ended in a 4-0 thrashing on Saturday.
Edinburgh: Hibernian secured their biggest victory over Rangers since 1912 as a turbulent week for the Glasgow giants ended in a 4-0 thrashing on Saturday.
In a week where manager Ally McCoist was placed on gardening leave and serious concerns were raised about the running of the club at a stormy AGM, it was hoped the focus would revert back to the Ibrox club`s challenge for the Scottish Championship title at Easter Road.
However, caretaker manager Kenny McDowall`s reign as Rangers boss got off to a disastrous start when David Gray fired home a superb eighth minute opener followed four minutes later by a Jason Cummings strike.
There was to be no second half comeback for Rangers with Scott Robertson and Liam Craig compounding their misery as Hibernian ran riot.
The defeat, Rangers` fifth in just 17 matches, all but ends their hopes of beating Hearts to the one automatic promotion spot back to the Premiership, with the Jambos able to open up a 15 point lead at the top of the table if they defeat Livingston.
Hibernian, who had a shaky start to the season under new manager Alan Stubbs, have now completed the double over Rangers following their 3-1 win at Ibrox in September to close to within four points of the Gers in second place.
McDowall opted to make no changes to the Rangers side that defeated Livingston last week while Hibs manager Stubbs kept faith with the same players who had won their previous two matches.
Any hopes McDowall harboured of getting his Gers reign off to a perfect start took a dent almost immediately as his side conceded two goals in four minutes.
The first came from Gray, who collected the ball wide right and, as the Gers defence stood off him, he smacked a sensational 20 yard strike into the top corner past the helpless Steve Simonsen.
Rangers had barely regrouped when Hibs added another through Cummings.
Keeper Simonsen was caught in no man`s land when Craig knocked Scott Allan`s excellent cross-field pass back across goal and Cummings bundled the ball home with a queue of Hibs` players waiting to finish.
Cummings then tested Simonsen with a stinging shot that the keeper could only palm away as Hibs bossed proceedings.
It took Rangers until the 37th minute to have their effort on goal with Lee McCulloch sending his header from a Steven Smith corner widely over the bar.
In a rare foray forward Lee Wallace managed to swing a decent delivery from the left into the box but Miller powered a header wide under pressure.
Rangers tried to respond in the second with Liam Fontaine clearing a Nicky Law strike off the line but an Allan-inspired Hibs soon killed off their hopes.
The midfielder`s sublime pass slipped in Robertson who curled a shot beyond Simonsen in the 63rd minute.
Allan was again the architect in the 70th minute as he burst forward down the inside right channel and chipped a beautiful ball across goal for Craig who sent a measured volley low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.