Hibernian 0 Rangers 0: Hibs leave tired Rangers with no room for 'slip-ups'

Rangers' pursuit of a remarkable quadruple remains on, but their margin for domestic error decreased significantly at Easter Road yesterday. Less than three days after sweating their way to a penalty shoot-out victory at Fiorentina to reach the Uefa Cup final, Rangers took the game to Hibernian in the second half here, but too many of Walter Smith's players looked as if Thursday night was still in their system.

In the circumstances an entertaining 0-0 draw against a Hibs side with their own Uefa Cup qualification aspirations is acceptable but the equation for Rangers now is: five to play and, assuming Celtic win their remaining two matches, five to win.

With three games in hand, Rangers are seven points behind Celtic but Rangers' inferior goal difference of eight means that another draw in the run-in is likely to hand a decisive advantage to Gordon Strachan's team. Some of that goal difference would be whittled away by wins in their next two games, as Motherwell visit Ibrox on Wednesday and Dundee United go to Glasgow on Saturday; Celtic would then host Hibs on Sunday with Rangers' breathing down their necks.

But the sheer number of fixtures could get to Smith's squad and the weekend news that their Uefa Cup opponents Zenit St Petersburg have had their domestic games cancelled before Wednesday week in Manchester is, as Smith said drily, "obviously disappointing". Rangers are dismayed that no equivalent measures have been proposed by either the SPL or the Scottish Football Association. "People have made it clear they are not going to help us," Smith said.

With a bit more direct action, Mixu Paatelainen's side might have harmed Rangers more than they did. It was past the hour before Filipe Morais struck Hibs' first shot on target.

Carlos Cuellar forced a first-half save before picking up a one-match suspension for a booking. Late on, Cuellar then squandered Rangers' last opening. So, two points dropped and, with Smith accepting there can be "no more slip-ups", Rangers enter a tunnel of seven games in 21 days.

Hibernian (4-1-4-1) McNeil; McCann, Canning, Jones, Murray; Chisholm; Morais (O'Brien, 86), Shiels, Rankin, Campbell (Donaldson, 75); Fletcher. Substitutes not used: Kalambay (gk), Kerr, Benjelloun, Zarabi, Stevenson.

Rangers (4-4-2) Alexander; K Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Papac (Boyd, 77); Davis, Ferguson, Dailly, Thomson; Novo, Cousin (Darcheville, 86). Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Faye, Lennon, Emslie, Loy.

Referee: C Murray.

Booked: Hibernian McCann Rangers Cuellar, Dailly, Thomson.

Man of the match: Rankin.

Attendance: 16,872.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen