Rangers 3-1 Hibs: Philippe Clement's side restore Scottish Premiership lead with hard-fought win

by 24britishtvMarch 30, 2024, 10 p.m. 18
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Rangers missed a penalty and had a goal disallowed as they returned to the top of the Scottish Premiership with a dramatic 3-1 win against Hibs at Ibrox.

With Celtic not in action until Sunday, the Ibrox side knew a victory would see them move two points clear of their Old Firm rivals but it was a challenge with the visitors unbeaten in their last six league games.

David Marshall saved his fourth penalty of the season to deny James Tavernier after Nectarios Triantis' arm was adjudged to have caught John Souttar following a VAR check.
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The Rangers captain did volley in for the opener, though, after Scott Wright's rebound goal was disallowed for encroachment.

Myziane Maolida beat the Rangers defence to stab home the equaliser in first-half injury time before Cyriel Dessers reacted quickly to restore the Ibrox side's lead before the break.

Rabbi Matondo came off the bench to add a third as Philippe Clement's side returned to winning ways with the Old Firm clash a week away. Hibs remain sixth, one point ahead of Dundee.

Every passing week brings more tension to the title race and Rangers knew what was at stake.

The Govan side took an immediate grip of the game as Wright fired a shot just wide from the edge of the box then saw his close-range effort from a Dessers cut-back blocked by Hibs defender Jordan Obita before Marshall parried a long-range effort from Mohamed Diomande.

However, referee David Dickinson was then asked by VAR Andrew Dallas to check his pitchside monitor for a possible foul by Hibs' Triantis, with his arm on Gers defender Souttar at a previous corner, and he pointed to the spot.

Marshall blocked Tavernier's penalty - as he had at Easter Road in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup earlier this month - but Wright followed up to hammer in the rebound, only for VAR to confirm he had encroached and a free-kick was given to the visitors.

Five minutes later, Tavernier made up for his mistake when he volleyed in from 16 yards after John Lundstram's cross had only been partially cleared, with Hibs defender Will Fish unable to keep the ball out.

Seven minutes were added on at the end of the first half and Hibs took advantage to level. Elie Youan set up fellow attacker Maolida inside the box and he beat Connor Goldson, got in front of Tavernier and prodded the ball past Jack Butland.

Tension immediately engulfed Ibrox but that was alleviated in the sixth minute of added time when Dessers, who had moments earlier saw an effort saved by Marshall, headed a Todd Cantwell cross in off the bar.

Hibs had to withstand more pressure at the start of the second half with Marshall making saves from Cantwell and Dessers, but at 2-1 there was still underlying anxiety among the home fans, erupting when Dessers failed to hit the target from eight yards from a Tavernier cut-back.

The game flattened out for a spell as both sides used their respective benches to change things up.

In the 77th minute Gers substitute Tom Lawrence opted to cut the ball back instead of shooting when through on the angle against Marshall and a glorious chance was gone.

However, another Rangers replacement, Matondo, took matters into his own hands when claiming possession 20 yards from goal before sending the ball fizzing past the helpless Marshall, and any nerves were banished.

Clement: The players no longer doubt themselves

"It's a pity you get a goal against, I think the only shot on target, but we reacted well and created a lot of chances and we scored three nice goals.

"We scored a fourth goal but apparently Scott's [Wright] feet were too big, so with one size less it would have been a goal.

"A very convincing victory and you see the hunger and desire in the team.

"They don't doubt anymore like they did at the start of the season when something went against them. They have confidence in themselves and in each other."

"Coming here we know it's going to be a difficult ask, we did well to get back into it at 1-1 but it was disappointing to concede in the injury time in the first half.

"That's something we can't do, we have to defend a cross from out wide and get through to half-time.

"We came out in the second half and had a couple of decent chances but probably just lacked a bit of composure against a quality team.

"They've got players that can hurt you in moments of quality so we didn't deserve anything out of the game today.

"You don't get loads of chances against teams like Rangers and Celtic and when you do you have to punish them."

Rangers host Celtic at Ibrox on April 7, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 12pm.

Hibs are at home to St Johnstone on April 6. Kick-off 3pm.

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