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Joe Aribo's strike had Rangers ahead at half-time
Joe Aribo’s strike had Rangers ahead at half-time

Rangers are four games from an unbeaten Scottish Premiership season after holding on for victory over Hibernian.

Joe Aribo’s volley and a Ryan Kent strike were enough for Steven Gerrard’s side, who secured the title last month with six matches to spare.

Kevin Nisbet’s header halved the deficit in the closing stages.

But Hibs could not prevent Rangers extending their 100% home record in the league with a 17th win prior to a visit from Celtic in the Scottish Cup.

The visitors’ first Premiership defeat in three leaves them with a four-point cushion on Aberdeen in the battle to finish third.

Hibs had already run Rangers close this season, with a 2-2 home draw followed by 1-0 defeats at Ibrox and Easter Road.

They limited the hosts in a low-key opening before Kemar Roofe slid home a delivery from his Rangers strike partner Alfredo Morelos, but he had strayed a yard offside.

Hibs’ reprieve lasted barely a minute. After Ofir Marciano palmed away a Roofe header the visitors failed to clear their lines and when the ball fell to Aribo he lashed home an angled volley from six yards.

Rangers had conceded just two league goals at Ibrox this season, yet Hibs should have been level by half-time.

Nisbet was inches from an equaliser with a strike he sent whistling past the far post. Martin Boyle did likewise moments later, with Allan McGregor deemed to have tipped it wide.

And from the resultant corner Paul Hanlon had the best chance of the lot when he rose unmarked to put a header the wrong side of the post.

Gerrard’s side were below their best, but doubled the lead with a terrific Kent strike. The winger darted along the edge of the box, leaving Joe Newell and Alex Gogic trailing, to arrow a drive past the helpless Marciano into the bottom corner.

McGregor parried a Boyle effort then tipped a 25-yard Nisbet free-kick away from the top corner as Hibs sought a response.

Ryan Porteous had a headed goal disallowed for a foul in the penalty area, but Jack Ross’ men got the goal they deserved when Nisbet superbly glanced home a deep Paul McGinn cross.

Their push for an equaliser came to nothing as Rangers comfortably held out to ensure a winning warm-up for Saturday’s Old firm showdown.

Man of the match – Ryan Kent

The tireless winger put the game beyond Hibs with a quality strike
The tireless winger put the game beyond Hibs with a quality strike

What’s next?

Rangers host Celtic in the Scottish Cup on Saturday (16:00 BST), with Hibs also on fourth-round duty when they visit League 2 Stranraer (12:15).

Line-ups

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1McGregor
  • 16Patterson
  • 6Goldson
  • 5HelanderBooked at 85mins
  • 31BarisicBooked at 64mins
  • 17AriboSubstituted forArfieldat 72′minutes
  • 10DavisSubstituted forZunguat 89′minutes
  • 18KamaraBooked at 70mins
  • 25RoofeSubstituted forIttenat 89′minutes
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forHagiat 72′minutes
  • 14Kent

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 4Simpson
  • 7Hagi
  • 11Itten
  • 15Zungu
  • 23Wright
  • 24Stewart
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield

Hibernian

Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 1Marciano
  • 6McGinn
  • 5Porteous
  • 4Hanlon
  • 13GogicSubstituted forHallbergat 83′minutes
  • 10BoyleBooked at 27mins
  • 36IrvineSubstituted forMagennisat 79′minutes
  • 11Newell
  • 25Doig
  • 15Nisbet
  • 9DoidgeSubstituted forCaddenat 66′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gray
  • 7Magennis
  • 8Wright
  • 16Stevenson
  • 20Hallberg
  • 24McGregor
  • 27Cadden
  • 33Macey
  • 52Laidlaw

Referee:
Don Robertson

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Rangers 2, Hibernian 1.

  2. Second Half ends, Rangers 2, Hibernian 1.

  3. Cedric Itten (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Dangerous play by Ryan Porteous (Hibernian).

  5. Attempt missed. Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Chris Cadden with a cross.

  6. Substitution, Rangers. Bongani Zungu replaces Steven Davis.

  7. Substitution, Rangers. Cedric Itten replaces Kemar Roofe.

  8. Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Filip Helander.

  9. Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Foul by Joe Newell (Hibernian).

  11. Attempt blocked. Nathan Patterson (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Glen Kamara.

  12. Filip Helander (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Foul by Filip Helander (Rangers).

  14. Martin Boyle (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Substitution, Hibernian. Melker Hallberg replaces Alexander Gogic.

  16. Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Borna Barisic.

  17. Ianis Hagi (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Foul by Alexander Gogic (Hibernian).

  19. Attempt saved. Ianis Hagi (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  20. Kemar Roofe (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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