Hibernian 0 Rangers 0: Frustrated Rangers face fixture congestion
Monday 04 February 2008
Rangers are facing further fixture congestion after the Scottish Football Association refused to allow their Scottish Cup replay against Hibernian to take place on Wednesday.
Their manager Walter Smith wants the game to go ahead this midweek, maintaining that it is the only free slot for several weeks because of Rangers' participation in the Uefa Cup this month and a backlog of other matches.
Both clubs are happy for the tie at Ibrox to be played then, after yesterday's fifth-round game ended in a goalless stalemate at Easter Road. However, the SFA have rejected Rangers' request because several players have international commitments. Smith believes finding a suitable date will prove problematic.
"I'm a wee bit bemused because we have offered to play it on Wednesday and they have told us we can't and I don't know why," he said. "With us having a busy schedule and having one week available to us, it's a bit of a mystery why we can't play it because it's really the only Wednesday we have to play unless they are going to cancel a Uefa Cup tie or a league game."
It proved to be a busy afternoon for the goalkeepers yesterday, both sides creating chances but lacking the cutting edge required to decide the tie. There was even an unexpected debut for new Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander after Allan McGregor was sent off with a few minutes left.
Rangers claimed a penalty within seconds of kick-off when Steven Naismith went to ground under pressure from Kevin McCann, but there appeared to be little contact and referee Craig Thomson signalled for play to continue. Merouane Zemmama gave Hibs hope of an early opener when he embarked on an impressive run down the left flank but he was halted by Kirk Broadfoot.
Hibs should have taken the lead shortly before half-time. Dean Shiels' firm shot was deflected inches wide before Steven Fletcher's header was hooked off the line by Naismith.
Lee McCulloch saw his point-blank header held by Yves Ma-Kalambay shortly after half-time. Rankin then whipped a great ball across the goalmouth with Zemmama sliding in at the back post – but the little Moroccan could not quite make the connection.
Barry Ferguson was not too far away with a right-footed volley which swerved just wide, before McGregor produced a superb save to deny Fletcher's shot.
A controversial opener almost followed. Shiels controlled the ball with his hand before finding Fletcher in space. The striker rounded McGregor and looked certain to score – but Sasa Papac nodded the ball to safety.
Charlie Adam could have been the hero for the visitors when Broadfoot was felled on the edge of the box and he stepped up for the free-kick. His curling effort was well struck but Ma-Kalambay punched clear.
McGregor was shown a straight red card with three minutes to go for racing off his line and clattering into Shiels as he bore down on goal.
Hibernian: Ma-Kalambay, McCann, Hogg, Jones, Hanlon, Shiels, Kerr, Murray, Rankin, Fletcher (Donaldson, 90), Zemmama (O'Brien, 74). Substitutes not used: McNeil, Chisholm, Gathuessi.
Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Hemdani (Alexander, 88), Ferguson (Boyd, 76), Adam, Burke, McCulloch, Naismith (Darcheville, 65). Substitutes not used: Dailly, Fleck.
Booked: Hibernian: Fletcher, Murray Rangers: Broadfoot:
Sent off: Rangers: McGregor (88)
Referee: C Thomson (Scotland)
Quarter-final draw: Aberdeen v Celtic; Queen of the South v Motherwell or Dundee; Ross County or St Johnstone v St Mirren or Dundee United; Hibernian or Rangers v Livingston or Partick Thistle. To be played on the weekend of 8 March.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer talk: Juan Cuadrado Chelsea move imminent; Manchester United eye Nathaniel Clyne; Andre Schurrle medical at Wolfsburg
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
Kim Sears: Andy Murray defends fiancée's for outburst after a bad-tempered march to final
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures