Hibernian 0 Rangers 0: Hibs leave tired Rangers with no room for 'slip-ups'
Monday 05 May 2008
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.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Pavement The Forum, London
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans plan protest at the Emirates Stadium because of lack of transfer activity...no-one turns up
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 4 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 5 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up