A slow start cost Hibs against a clinical Rangers side as the away team ran out 3-0 winners in Leith.
It was a start that Ofir Marciano will want to forget in a hurry. Joe Aribo charged down the Israeli international and his clearance off the Gers man fell to Ryan Kent, who put the ball into the empty net.
A bad start got worse as Aribo then blasted the ball into the top corner four minutes later. Hibs had a couple of chances through Martin Boyle and Stevie Mallan but the first half overall was dominated by the visitors.
Jermain Defoe added a third eight minutes into the second half before Ryan Porteous was sent off for a rough challenge on Borna Barisic. It sparked tense scenes as members of both Hibs and Rangers’ backroom were sent to the stands.
Hibs remain in sixth for now but could drop into the bottom six again over Christmas if results go against them. Here are three things we learned.
Seven defining minutes
Easter Road’s home faithful were left stunned as the scoreboard read 2-0 to Rangers after just seven minutes. Sure, the away side were likely favourites heading into the game, but Hibs must have expected a much better start.
They didn’t kick into gear in the opening 20 minutes and Kent almost had a second but was denied by Ryan Porteous. Those first seven minutes though really defined this clash.
Rangers were given a strong foothold in the game and put Hibs on the backfoot for the remaining 83 minutes.
The right-hand side
Where Hibs were being exploited most was down the right. They lost two goals via pressure from that side as Rangers committed plenty of bodies to that area, especially in the first half.
Mallan, who looked to be playing left wing, was exposed up against James Tavernier. Aribo’s pace meanwhile gave Lewis Stevenson problems. On occasion too, big gaps were left out there as the play drifted centrally.
That area was problem for Ross and unfortunately his side were clinically punished.
File under one to forget and move on
From start to finish, this game couldn’t have gone much worse for Ross or his team. They were beaten in every area of the park as Rangers ran them ragged. It’s the first real poor performance of his tenure.
He’ll be hoping it’s a blip after a pretty promising start. Filing this game under one to forget is probably their best option after a pretty bleak display against their Glasgow foes.
Matches against current bottom six sides in Hearts and Livingston come prior to the winter break before matches against Lanarkshire duo Hamilton and Motherwell follow on from this period in league action. During a run where they’ll face three bottom six teams in four fixtures, Ross will look to pick up plenty of points after two challenging games.