Match Report: Rangers 1:3 Hibernian
RANGERS’ interest in the Premier Sports Cup was ended this afternoon in the semi-final by Hibernian.
A first-half hat-trick from Martin Boyle had the Leith club 3-0 up before Scott Arfield pulled one back before the interval.
Gers had some opportunities in the second half to get themselves even more into the match, but it wasn’t to be for the Light Blues this afternoon.
From the XI which defeated Ross County in the Scottish Premiership a fortnight ago, in came Borna Barisic, Scott Arfield, Steven Davis, Glen Kamara and Alfredo Morelos as part of five changes overall made by David McCallum, Brian Gilmour, Colin Stewart and Jermain Defoe.
That meant it was a back five of Allan McGregor in goal with captain James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun and Barisic in front of him.
Arfield, Davis and Kamara were in the middle of the park, while up front, Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo played in support of Morelos.
Gers began on the front foot, and Paul Hanlon saw yellow for a pretty poor challenge on Aribo on the edge of the Hibernian box. From the resulting free-kick from Tavernier, however, Matt Macey gathered the ball well in the air.
Joe Newell then saw yellow two minutes later for a tug on Aribo as referee Kevin Clancy was kept especially busy in the opening minutes at the National Stadium.
It was a bright start for Gers, but it was Hibs who grabbed the lead on nine minutes – the ball reaching Martin Boyle at the back post from a corner where he was able to lift the ball over McGregor and into the roof of the net.
Morelos was put in by a superb Aribo through-ball, but he shot straight at Matt Macey on 14 minutes before Hibs made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute. Boyle was put through by Kevin Nisbet, and he finished well across McGregor.
Arfield responded with a strike from distance that Macey beat away, while Aribo shot just over from a near-post effort after cutting into the area.
Arfield was then unfortunate to see a strike go wide on the turn after taking in a ball from Barisic, while Tavernier had an effort from distance go wide.
But then on 37 minutes, Hibernian were awarded a penalty as Boyle went down under the challenge of Steven Davis in the area. Up-stepped the Australian to blast home his hat-trick.
Finally, however, something fell for Rangers, with Scott Arfield reducing the arrears on the 40-minute mark, getting the break of the ball in the area from a loose Ryan Porteous clearance for 1-3.
Gers threatened a second before the break with Balogun and then Goldson both heading efforts wide.
Porteous denied Kamara with a fine block in the area at the start of the second half, and all of the play and possession seemed to be heading in the one direction.
Sub Fashion Jr headed an effort wide at the back post not long after coming on, while Goldson had another effort from a header which went over.
Fellow sub Ryan Jack had a strike from the edge of the box deflected wide, while Balogun could only head wide from a Barisic corner.
Goldson then blazed a late effort from close-range over to cap a disappointing afternoon for Rangers, with attention now turning to a crucial Europa League encounter with Sparta Prague at Ibrox on Thursday.
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