Much of the pre-match focus was on the potential double deal which could take Flo and Michael Mols to Sunderland and Alex McLeish opted to leave Norwegian star Flo on the bench while Mols was not involved at all.

It meant that Lovenkrands came back into the starting line-up and was given the specific task of patrolling the left touchline allowing Shota Arveladze and Ronald de Boer to play in more central striking roles.

Whether it was in view of the transfer talk or for tactical reasons, McLeish got it spot on. De Boer was highly influential again and for the second week running opened the scoring for Rangers.

Lovenkrands was equally electric, operating on the left side, and scored twice taking his tally for the season to three to clinch the win Rangers wanted. 

The only down side from a striking point of view was that Shota Arveladze did not get on the scoresheet, although that was largely due to bad decision making by assistant referee Francis Andrews as it was to his own frustrating endeavours.

Shota had the ball in the net after he headed in Mikel Arteta’s cross in eight minutes and was clearly onside when the ball was played but Mr. Andrews raised his flag to rule out what was a legitimate goal.

Had the correct decision been given, victory would have been achieved a lot earlier for Rangers although they won easily enough in the end.

Clinical de Boer had given the Ibrox men the lead two minutes earlier and it was an excellent goal which came about as a result of the marvellous anticipation and competitive nature of Arteta.

The young Spaniard dispossessed Freddie Arpinon in the middle of Hibs’ half and played an excellent pass inside Mathias Doumbe to send Lovenkrands scampering down the left.

The Danish star delivered a pacey low cross and de Boer finished it off beautifully with a crisp left foot drive which raged into the net.

Perhaps there was a sense of injustice about Arveladze’s goal being disallowed but Rangers were still in complete command. That made it all the more galling for McLeish that Hibs were allowed to equalise 10 minutes before half-time.

Rangers failed to clear Tam McManus’s corner and when Paco Luna touched the ball back into the middle of the penalty area Derek Townsley seemed to have all the time in the world to slam a left foot shot into the net.

Fortunately for Rangers, Doumbe took a mad turn in first half injury time and hauled Lovenkrands to the floor in the penalty box when there seemed little danger.

Hugh Dallas immediately pointed to the spot and Barry Ferguson dispatched the spotkick with poise and precision, sending Nick Colgan the wrong way, to make sure Rangers were back in front.

The pace and power of Rangers was simply too much for Hibs in the second half and had they taken all of their chances, Hibs would have been contemplating a much heavier defeat.

Arteta set up Lovenkrands with a great cross in 50 minutes but the young Dane blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy. Then four minutes later the Spanish sensation set up another excellent opportunity.

His chest control was exemplary as he cut out Ian Murray’s crossfield pass and then his sliderule pass to play in Lovenkrands down the left was of a similar high quality.

Lovenkrands, in turn, picked out de Boer bursting through the middle but Nick Colgan, to his credit, made a superb blocking save at the Dutchman’s feet to prevent a certain goal.

The third goal, however, was not long in coming. The tireless Fernando Ricksen found space on the right side and played in a good cross which Lovenkrands gobbled up as he slammed a right foot shot into the right corner.

The trademark handspring celebration followed but Lovenkrands and Rangers were not finished – although they suffered a major scare in 66 minutes when Hibs had the ball in their net again.

Rangers were caught out at a corner again as Doumbe got on the end of Brebner’s ball in. Luna then launched himself forward and forced the ball over the line.

However, the ever observant Hugh Dallas spotted that the Hibs striker had used his arm, disallowed the goal and promptly sent Luna off having booked him in the first half for a foul on Lovenkrands.

Flo was then introduced to the fray with 12 minutes remaining, but it was Lovenkrands who scored again. Ferguson sent him scampering clear in 86 minutes and he stayed composed to poke the ball past Colgan to make the points absolutely safe.

Young Gary O’Connor is a player Alex McLeish admires and he added to his portfolio with a consolation goal for Hibs in 88 minutes, hooking a left foot shot past Stefan Klos after the Rangers defence had failed to deal with Brebner’s corner.

It made no difference, of course, but it slightly spoiled what had been an excellent afternoon’s work.

Flo applauded the Rangers fans at the end, but it remains to be seen if this will be his last act in a blue shirt.

Hibs: Colgan; Doumbe, Smith, Fenwick, Murray; Dacquin (O’Connor 58), Brebner, Jack, Arpinon (Townsley 21); McManus (Paatelainen 73), Luna. 

Subs not used: Caig, Wiss.

Sent off: Luna (66)

Bookings: Smith (19) Brebner (33) Colgan (36) Jack (52)

Rangers: Klos; Muscat, Moore, Amoruso, Numan; Ricksen, Arteta, Ferguson; Arveladze, de Boer (Flo 78), Lovenkrands. 

Subs not used: McGregor, Latapy, Ross, Konterman.

Bookings: Lovenkrands (42) Amoruso (43)

Ref: Hugh Dallas

Att: 11,633.

Man of the match: Peter Lovenkrands.

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