Hibernian 5-5 Rangers: Jamie Maclaren scores hat-trick in dramatic clash
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 13/05/18 3:08pm
Hat-trick hero Jamie Maclaren's stoppage-time equaliser denied Rangers a famous comeback triumph in a breathless 5-5 draw at Easter Road.
Gers were shocked as Florian Kamberi, Scott Allan and Maclaren put Hibs 3-0 up in the opening 22 minutes to boost their hopes of snatching third place from the Ibrox side.
But the Light Blues mounted a stunning fightback with strikes from James Tavernier, Jordan Rossiter and Bruno Alves, before second-half goals from Jason Holt and Josh Windass saw them incredibly race into a 5-3 lead.
Another Maclaren goal set visiting nerves jangling and with Jimmy Nicholl's side down to 10 men after seeing Holt sent off late on, Hibs' on-loan Darmstadt forward prodded home in the third minute of stoppage time to seal a dramatic point.
Gers had to better Aberdeen's result at Celtic Park to claim second spot but it is the Dons who finish runners-up after a 1-0 win in Glasgow.
Neil Lennon was back in the Hibs dug-out after his midweek threat to quit - and he looked far happier at full-time after racing on to the pitch to celebrate Maclaren's breathtaking leveller.
It took just nine minutes for the fireworks to spark as referee Andrew Dallas spotted David Bates' off-the-ball tug on Maclaren inside the box. Kamberi lashed the spot-kick home (10) to give the hosts the perfect start.
Things got even better nine minutes later as Lewis Stevenson's deep cross found Slivka, who nodded down for the on-rushing Allan to bundle home.
Stevenson turned provider again on 22 minutes as the hosts found themselves 3-0 up. Russell Martin has three inches on Maclaren but was caught flat-footed as the Australian leapt to glance home.
The Ibrox side belatedly woke up and hit back two minutes later. Tavernier drove down the inside-right channel before spotting Holt on the overlap and the Gers skipper followed his team-mate into the box before tucking home the cut-back.
Rangers' Rossiter, making his first start since August, slotted home in the 27th minute after Jamie Murphy picked out his run in behind Stevenson and the visitors were level four minutes before the break when Alves - thrown on for Goss as Nicholl switched to three at the back - swept home a stunning free-kick after Efe Amrbose illegally halted a Murphy charge.
The drama did not let up after the break. Allan jumped out of the way as Tavernier slid in and that allowed the skipper to release Jason Cummings in behind. Ambrose did well to hold up the former Leith man but Murphy had the vision to find Holt in space as the ex-Hearts midfielder swept home Gers' fourth.
Substitute Windass put Gers two in front on 68 minutes as a Holt shot broke off his hip and wrong-footed Ofir Marciano.
Maclaren fired fresh life into Hibs' cause two minutes later as he pulled one back after being slotted in by Slivka.
Holt got his marching orders five minutes from time after picking up a second yellow and with a man advantage, Hibs made it count as Maclaren bundled home after fine work by Kambari.