Hibs heap more misery on McLeish
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Hibernian inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Rangers to increase the pressure on Alex McLeish.Former club Hibernian heaped yet more pressure on Alex McLeish after inflicting a 2-1 defeat on Rangers at Easter Road.
First half goals from Derek Riordan and Garry O'Connor proved decisive with Rangers only able to muster a deflected effort from skipper Barry Ferguson whose misery was compounded when he was sent off shortly before the final whistle.
The loss means Rangers have now gone eight games without a victory in all competitions, the first time that has ever happened in their history.
The lively Ivan Sproule almost opened the scoring in the first minute when he saw his deflected shot headed off the line by former Hibs favourite Ian Murray.
O'Connor had his first chance of the afternoon on ten minutes when he headed straight at Ronald Waterreus after finding yards of space in the Rangers box from a left-flank free kick.
But the hosts did not have to wait long to move ahead, five minutes later Sproule escaped down the left and saw his cross-cum-shot fall perfectly for Riordan who had the simple task of tapping home at the far post.
Rangers were being run ragged and fell further behind soon afterwards to another splendidly worked goal. O'Connor played the ball wide to Riordan before darting into the box to meet his team-mate's cross with a precise side-foot finish that nestled in the corner.
There was no let-up after the break and ten minutes into the second period Sproule almost increased the lead further - after cutting in off the left and bamboozling Alan Hutton, the Northern Ireland international dragged his shot just wide of the near post.
But against the run of play Rangers found a foothold in the game when Ferguson's speculative shot from the edge of the box was deflected past his own goalkeeper by a faint touch from Gary Smith.
The goal lifted the visitors and Sabri Namouchi should have restored parity when he blazed over an open net after a free kick had only been half-cleared.
However, it was Hibs who finished the game the stronger and after Riordan had gone close with a free kick, Sproule should have settled matters but shot too close to Waterreus having broken clear.
Ferguson's evident frustration boiled over in the dying moments as he received a second caution for a challenge on Kevin Thomson to cap an awful afternoon for the Glasgow giants.