This was, in the end, a comfortable victory for Rangers against a stubborn Hibernian side, and one which gives Walter Smith's side a seven-point advantage over Celtic going into the final quarter of the league campaign.
Their three goals could easily have been doubled as Rangers made but missed a series of chances, particularly in the first half. Their victory, however, was not without several fraught moments. At 2-1 Hibernian created a perfect opening for Darren Jackson, but his free header inside the penalty area was aimed straight at the midriff of Andy Goram.
Rangers opened the scoring in the third minute, a Richard Gough header from a Brian Laudrup cross being powered into the net from close range. Leighton blocked an effort from Gordon Durie and then saved well from Jorg Albertz before Hibs could break out of their defensive cell. When they did, Goram saved well from Kevin Harper and Chris Jackson shot against the upright.
Laudrup, Durie and Albertz all came close for Rangers before the interval then three minutes after the break Rangers scored their second. Durie was brought down inside the area by Shaun Dennis, and from the penalty kick Albertz made no mistake.
Dennis headed Hibs back into contention in the 54th minute and four minutes later Jackson had his miss from splendid isolation deep inside the Rangers area.
With Hibernian's confidence growing, the possibility of an equaliser remained until the 67th minute, when Laudrup secured the points. Durie headed on, the Dane escaped the attentions of the last defender and ran on to shoot between the legs of Leighton.
Hibernian then lost the services of David Elliot, who was shown a red card in the 74th minute for a reckless foul on Derek McInnes.
Goals: Gough (3) 1-0; Albertz (pen 49) 2-0; Dennis (54) 2-1; Laudrup (67) 3-1.
Rangers (3-5-2): Goram; Mclaren, Gough, Bjorklund; Cleland, Steven (McInnes, 31) Ferguson, Albertz; Robertson, Durie (Andersen, 78), Laudrup. Substitute not used: McCoist.
Hibernian (4-4-2): Leighton; Renwick, Hunter, Dennis, Elliot, Miller (Wright 76), Grant, Charnley (Cameron, 89), C Jackson, Harper, D Jackson. Substitute not used: Dods.
Bookings: Rangers: Durie, McInnes. Sending off: Hibernian: Elliot.
Referee: H Dallas (Motherwell).
Man of the match: Laudrup.
Attendance: 47,618.Reuse content