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Hibernian vs Rangers. Scottish Premiership.

Easter RoadAttendance19,540.

Hibernian 0

  • R Porteous (sent off 60th minute)

Rangers 3

  • R Kent (4th minute)
  • J Aribo (8th minute)
  • J Defoe (53rd minute)

Hibernian 0-3 Rangers: Early double sets Steven Gerrard's side on their way

Jermain Defoe, Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo strike for Steven Gerrard's side

Jermain Defoe scored his first goal since October in Rangers' win
Image: Jermain Defoe scored his first goal since October in Rangers' win

A flying start from Rangers saw them cut Celtic's lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to two points with a 3-0 win at Hibernian.

Steven Gerrard's side went in front after four minutes when Ryan Kent showed great composure to turn goalkeeper Ofir Marciano's poor clearance home with a first-time finish from 20 yards. Another four minutes later, Hibs' uphill task was worsened when Joe Aribo fired home Ryan Jack's smart low cross from the right.

Hibs offered little to suggest they could keep their three-month unbeaten home record alive, failing to test Allan McGregor across the 90 minutes, and were booed off at half-time.

A double change from Jack Ross did little to stem the tide as Jermain Defoe scored his first goal since October for Rangers' third, before the cherry on the top of an awful night for the new boss was sealed when Ryan Porteous was sent off for an atrocious challenge on Borna Barisic.

Rangers flying start sets up emphatic win

Ryan Kent gave Rangers the perfect start with his first shot
Image: Ryan Kent gave Rangers the perfect start with his first shot

Knowing they could not afford any slip-ups at Easter Road in their pursuit of league leaders Celtic, Rangers flew out of the blocks and went ahead with their first attack. Aribo blocked off Marciano as he attempted to clear a backpass and deflected the ball into the path of Kent, who struck a sharp first-time effort high into the open goal.

Life got even sweeter for Gerrard's men with Aribo turning goalscorer four minutes later, as he won the ball back from Lewis Stevenson before exchanging passes with Jack and firing in an emphatic second.

Joe Aribo enjoyed a man of the match performance for Rangers
Image: Joe Aribo enjoyed a man of the match performance for Rangers

Aribo came close to doubling his money from a lovely disguised Kent pass but Marciano raced off his line to earn himself some redemption, while Hibs' only chance of note before the break saw Christian Doidge strike the outside of the post from a tight angle.

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Home manager Ross, looking to avoid a first Scottish Premiership home defeat since September 22, changed personnel and shape at the break and for several minutes the hosts did improve, but when Defoe chested Scott Arfield's header before firing in at the near post eight minutes after the interval, the result was sealed.

The red card was the second of 20-year-old Ryan Porteous' career
Image: The red card was the second of 20-year-old Ryan Porteous' career

Frustrations boiled over on the hour mark when Porteous flew in on Barisic, catching the defender on his standing leg, which sparked both benches into a brief scuffle and ended with the Hibs defender sent off, and a member of each coaching staff also send to the stands.

The game was ended as a spectacle by that card with Hibs forced into another change to plug the gap at the back, while Rangers were more than satisfied to play out the last half hour without exerting any more energy than necessary.

Steven Gerrard's angry reaction to Porteous' challenge set off a scuffle on the touchline
Image: Steven Gerrard's angry reaction to Porteous' challenge set off a scuffle on the touchline

They move back within two points of Celtic, while Hibs stay sixth after suffering back-to-back defeats.

What's next?

Hibs' next game sees them take on arch rivals Hearts at Tynecastle live on Sky Sports Football from 12pm on Boxing Day; Kick-off at 12.30pm. Rangers host Kilmarnock on that same day at 3pm.

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