Shortly before kick-off, a familiar refrain erupted from the old Dunbar End: “There’s not a team like the Glasgow Rangers.” Long before the 90th minute, how true that was.
One-nil down on seven minutes, 2-0 on 12 and 4-0 by the 70th, this was nothing like the Rangers their fans had come to love. They may wear the same kit, have the same supporters and sing the same songs but this is a club with a Rangers mask on. Beneath the façade, the club is withered and dysfunctional.
The build-up to the game at the end of another turbulent week at Ibrox, in which Ally McCoist was eased out, had been all about how the players and new-old coaching team were going to “do it for Ally”. McCoist cannot take much reassurance from what he witnessed on his TV screen.
The last time Rangers lost by four goals anywhere was in 2000 at Celtic. The last time they lost by this kind of margin at Easter Road was 102 years ago.
What was galling for the 3,720 away fans was the flimsy performance. Ineptitude would be hard enough if it came with pride, but Rangers were so poor that McCoist’s successor, his former No 2 Kenny McDowall, was asked about “commitment”.
His reply was as unconvincing as the Rangers’ display. It ended with McDowall saying of his players: “You should ask them.” Given some were close to invisible, that was problematic, but Kenny Miller – one of five Scotland internationals in the 14 players used – voiced distress at the “lack of confidence” and how, when it came to Hibs scoring, “it looks pretty easy against us”.
At least Miller stood up, but he is 35 – hardly the future. In midfield and defence his colleagues stood off. This made Scott Allan look like the Zinedine Zidane of second-tier Scottish football. The 23-year-old had an unproductive two years at West Bromwich but he is revived under Alan Stubbs’ management.
Allan drove Hibs forward and Rangers were always chasing. On seven minutes David Gray, at Manchester United in his youth, collected a Liam Craig cross 20 yards out. With no-one closing Gray down, he sent a soaring diagonal shot beyond Steve Simonsen into the top corner.
This was the start of the new Rangers era. Less than five minutes later, the visiting defence allowed Dominique Malonga to deliver a far-post cross. Craig squared it to Jason Cummings who scored from two yards out.
Rangers were pathetic. Ian Black offered some spleen, but so that much McDowall substituted him after 33 minutes.
Rangers improved at the start of the second half but their first shot on target came after Scott Robertson had made it 3-0 on 62 minutes. Craig then added a fourth – from Allan’s run and centre. The old Dunbar End left early. Rangers are a mess. The next new era can’t start soon enough.
Hibernian: (4-3-3) Oxley; Gray (Booth, 73), Hanlon, Fontaine, Stevenson; Allan, Robertson, Craig; Cummings (Stanton, 86), Handling (Kennedy, 86), Malonga.
Rangers: (4-4-2) Simonsen; Foster, McGregor, McCulloch, Wallace; Aird (Boyd, h-t), Law, Black (Hutton, 33), Smith; Clark, Miller (Shiels, 82).
Referee: Bobby Madden.
Man of the match: Allan (Hibs)
Match rating: 7/10Reuse content