Scottish Premiership - Play-offs - 1st Leg
Rangers2Hibernian0

Rangers 2-0 Hibernian

Kenny Miller and Nicky Clark (left) scored for Rangers
Kenny Miller and Nicky Clark (left) scored for Rangers
  • Nicky Clark scores before half-time
  • Kenny Miller adds second for Rangers
  • Second leg on Saturday at Easter Road

Rangers earned a hard-fought victory to take a two-goal advantage into the Premiership play-off semi-final.

They overcame Hibernian with a display of resilience and spirited effort, built upon the wiliness of Haris Vuckic.

He had a hand in both goals; converted by Nicky Clark and Kenny Miller.

For all of their possession, Hibs could not breach the Ranges defence and they now have to try to rescue the tie at Easter Road on Saturday.

Hibs initially looked as though they were indifferent to the pressure of the occasion. They ought to have been fresher, having spent a week in Spain while Rangers were overcoming Queen of the South in the quarter-final.

There was a vibrancy to their play early on, but only two long-range Liam Craig efforts to show for it.

The home players were industrious, in particular the hard running of the two strikers, Miller and Clark, but also the midfield scurrying of Andy Murdoch, a teenager of growing aplomb.

There was a reliance on counter-attacks, but that enabled Vuckic to become a prominent influence, since he thrived in pockets of space in the same way as Hibs midfielder Scott Allan.

Nicky Clark (14) turned in Ricky Foster's cross to give Rangers the lead
Nicky Clark (14) turned in Ricky Foster's cross to give Rangers the lead

It was the former who delivered a telling intervention, though. As he dwelled on the ball at the edge of the area, he was inventive enough to scoop the ball over the head of the Hibs defence to Richard Foster.

The full-back volleyed a cross into the six yard box, where Clark confidently tucked the ball past Hibs goalkeeper Mark Oxley.

The goal roused the home support and forced anxiety into the minds of the Hibs players. The visitors certainly played more erratically after the break, as if too urgent to try to recover the scoreline.

Even their best opportunity ended in a moment of panic, with Dominque Malonga heading over from Allan's corner as the ball fell to him inside the six yard box.

Rangers were relying on their sheer bloody-mindedness. They fought for every ball and covered the ground with a relentless energy.

They were rewarded when Dean Shiels' shot spun off the head of a Hibs defender and the ball ran towards Vuckic inside the area. He had the presence of mind to realise that Miller was better placed, though, and left it for the striker to shoot past Oxley with the outside of his right foot.

The advantage was precious enough for Rangers to seek to protect it, makings a series of substitutions to stiffen up their midfield. The defence was put under pressure, but a Rangers defender invariably won every ball in the air inside their area, particularly at corner kicks - although Allan was entitled to complain about the pieces of paper thrown at him by the home fans when he lined up to take a corner at one edge of the pitch.

The victory is a platform for Rangers, and they would have taken heart from the disconsolate looks on the faces of the Hibs players at the end.

Hibs gave as good as they got against Rangers but could not match their ruthlessness in front of goal
Hibs gave as good as they got against Rangers but could not match their ruthlessness in front of goal
Nicky Clark (bottom) celebrates his goal with Rangers team-mates Kenny Miller (centre) and Richard Foster
Nicky Clark (bottom) celebrates his goal with Rangers team-mates Kenny Miller (centre) and Richard Foster
Kenny Miller made it 2-0 after Nicky Clark's opener
Kenny Miller made it 2-0 after Nicky Clark's opener
Jason Cummings and his team-mates have much to do in Saturday's second leg
Jason Cummings and his team-mates have much to do in Saturday's second leg

Line-ups

Rangers

  • 1Bell
  • 23Foster
  • 24McGregorBooked at 89mins
  • 26Zaliukas
  • 5Wallace
  • 34Murdoch
  • 22ShielsBooked at 66minsSubstituted forBlackat 76'minutes
  • 7Law
  • 10Vuckic
  • 14ClarkSubstituted forSmithat 74'minutes
  • 18MillerBooked at 64minsSubstituted forBoydat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Smith
  • 6McCulloch
  • 8Black
  • 15Boyd
  • 25Robinson
  • 29Ferguson
  • 48Walsh

Hibernian

  • 1Oxley
  • 2Gray
  • 4Hanlon
  • 5Fontaine
  • 16Stevenson
  • 8RobertsonBooked at 31minsSubstituted forMcGeouchat 65'minutes
  • 22Fyvie
  • 10CraigBooked at 90mins
  • 20Allan
  • 24Malonga
  • 35Cummings

Substitutes

  • 9El Alagui
  • 11Stanton
  • 19Handling
  • 23McGeouch
  • 29Dja Djedje
  • 30Cerny
  • 32Dunsmore
Referee:
Calum Murray
Attendance:
41,236

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamHibernian
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home6
Away8
Shots on Target
Home5
Away1
Corners
Home1
Away13
Fouls
Home12
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Rangers 2, Hibernian 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Rangers 2, Hibernian 0.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Mark Oxley.

Attempt saved. Richard Foster (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Booking

Liam Craig (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card.

Nicky Law (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Fraser Fyvie (Hibernian).

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Darren McGregor.

Booking

Darren McGregor (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Darren McGregor (Rangers).

Attempt missed. Liam Craig (Hibernian) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Steven Smith.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Steven Smith.

Foul by Andy Murdoch (Rangers).

Scott Allan (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Kris Boyd replaces Kenny Miller.

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Fraser Fyvie (Hibernian).

Foul by Haris Vuckic (Rangers).

David Gray (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Ian Black replaces Dean Shiels.

Attempt missed. Jason Cummings (Hibernian) left footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Steven Smith replaces Nicky Clark.

Attempt missed. Dominique Malonga (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Marius Zaliukas.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Richard Foster.

Foul by Nicky Clark (Rangers).

Liam Fontaine (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Dean Shiels (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Dean Shiels (Rangers).

Liam Craig (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Hibernian. Dylan McGeouch replaces Scott Robertson.

Goal!

Goal! Rangers 2, Hibernian 0. Kenny Miller (Rangers) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Haris Vuckic.

Attempt missed. Haris Vuckic (Rangers) header from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Haris Vuckic.

Foul by Lee Wallace (Rangers).

Fraser Fyvie (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Fraser Fyvie (Hibernian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Dominique Malonga (Hibernian) header from very close range is just a bit too high.

goal

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