Lame excuses after Rangers routed

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The Independent Football

Pish, as they say in Glasgow. It was their first defeat at home to Hibs since 1995, and their second defeat in three SPL games, having lost at Aberdeen a fortnight ago. The "smash and grab" excuse might have been acceptable if Rangers had lost 1-0 to a late goal against the run of play. But they did not.

They were beaten by a compact, hard-working side and allowed a substitute, albeit a nippy, opportunistic one in the form of a 24-year-old Ulsterman, Ivan Sproule - ironically a Rangers fan who had 20 Rangers-supporting friends and family in the crowd - to score a hat-trick.

That smacked more of carelessness than misfortune, just as the home side's lack of goals was profligacy rather than bad luck.

McLeish's decision to field his most consistent striker, Dado Prso, in a wide position in a three-man frontline also backfired.

Rangers' over-reliance on a fit, properly positioned Prso is becoming a concern. Rangers lie fifth in the table this morning, six points off the pace.

"I don't like being behind anybody at any stage of the season so we have to get back on the winning trail in a fortnight's time," McLeish said, stating the obvious.

Tony Mowbray, his counterpart, who led Hibs to a third-place finish last season, albeit 30 points behind the Old Firm, said: "We all have responsibility to close that gap." His side are doing their bit.

Elsewhere, Colin Nish hit a first-half hat-trick in Kilmarnock's 3-0 win over Livingston to leave them in the quartet above Rangers this morning.