Football: Durie ensures justice is done

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The Independent Online
Rangers. . . . . . . . . . . .2

Durie 37, Steven 81

Hibernian. . . . . . . . . . .0

Attendance: 43,265

SEEKING confirmation that they had finally overcome the indifferent form that had been undermining their quest for a sixth successive Premier Division championship, Rangers were happy enough to tackle Hibernian, even though the Edinburgh side arrived at Ibrox buoyed by a sequence of seven games without defeat.

Considering, too, that Rangers and Hibs are the highest scorers in the division, yesterday's contest had enough edge to suggest it could be an exciting struggle, but expectation was eclipsed by reality. There were enough touches to maintain interest, especially from Rangers, but it was hardly what you would call an aesthetic treat.

The Ibrox regulars were unhappy with some of Hibs' tackling and became incensed just after the hour when the visiting right-back, Willie Miller, left a foot in as Gordon Durie attempted a cross. It was a nasty foul and Durie was taken away on a stretcher while the offender escaped with a caution. Indeed, that foul was more serious than the one on Mark Hateley which led to Gordon Hunter's dismissal in the 76th minute. Hunter had been guilty of persistent fouling but nothing as dangerous as the tackle that ended Durie's contribution.

Durie, nonetheless, had already made his mark by putting Rangers in front after 36 minutes, walking the ball around Jim Leighton before rolling it into an unprotected net. The goal had been set up by Hateley, but he looked at least a yard offside as he ran on to Ian Ferguson's intelligent pass. Rangers' second came nine minutes from time when Gary Stevens and Ally McCoist, who replaced Durie, combined well to present Trevor Steven with a simple task from close range.

Although depressed at having lost Durie, Rangers' fans were delighted to see their favourite, McCoist, back in business for the first time since a hernia operation last October. They also welcomed back the country's top goalkeeper, Andy Goram, who was between the sticks for the first time since the Scottish Cup final last May. Goram had extensive knee surgery and wasn't expected back for a couple of weeks, but when Ally Maxwell took ill on Friday night, Rangers had no other option.

Fortunately, Goram had little to do as Hibs disappointed at Ibrox yet again. They badly missed their top scorers, Darren Jackson and Keith Wright, who are both suspended.

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