A LATE equaliser from Darren McGregor meant Rangers were held at home by Hibernian this afternoon in the Scottish Premiership.
After going ahead through Alfredo Morelos in the first-half, Gers had chances to extend their lead but couldn’t do so, allowing McGregor to square the game with four minutes left.
From the side which needed a second half double from Morelos to come from behind to win at St Johnstone on Sunday, out went Eros Grezda and the injured Borna Barisic, with their places taken by Glenn Middleton and fit-again Ryan Jack.
In front of yet another full house and fantastic atmosphere, the recent high-tempo to these clashes between the two sides at Ibrox was there once again, and former Ger Emerson Hyndman came close to opening the scoring with a diving header on the end of a Martin Boyle cross from the right. The effort, however, was wide of Allan McGregor’s left post.
Gers then enjoyed plenty of possession from that point on, and Connor Goldson forced Adam Bogdan into a save as he got his head on the end of a James Tavernier free-kick from the right.
Then with 25 minutes on the clock, Rangers capitalised on a mistake in the Hibs defence to take the lead and ignite Ibrox.
A loose clearing header from Paul Hanlon was picked up by Daniel Candeias around 40 yards from goal, and the Portuguese winger immediately controlled the ball and played it into the path of Alfredo Morelos, who had gone beyond him down the right.
He went on-on-one with Bogdan and slipped the ball into the far corner for his 20th goal of the season.
Gers though had Allan McGregor to thank for preserving their lead soon after, with a fine double stop firstly from Boyle and then from an overhead effort from Florian Kamberi.
Kamberi then had another chance just after the second half restart, flashing a powerful drive over McGregor’s bar as sub Sean Mackie played him in for an effort from just inside the area.
Hanlon then denied a clearly struggling with injury Connor Goldson Gers’ second of the afternoon, getting a slight deflection on a bullet header from the big centre-half on the end of a Middleton corner.
Lassana Coulibaly then got above Vykintas Slivka at the back post to head a Candeias cross over the bar before Bogdan denied Middleton when the youngster was put through by Ryan Jack.
Soon after, Jack tested Bogdan on the half-volley from just outside the area, with the on-loan Liverpool keeper doing superbly well to tip the ball over the bar, before he was again made to save at close range by Middleton when Jack again released him.
Then, with four minutes left to play, Hibs equalised from pretty much nothing. A ball in from the left from Sean Mackie was met by Darren McGregor in the middle after the former Gers defender had made his way forward, and he bulleted the ball beyond the reach of namesake Allan McGregor.
Sub Kyle Lafferty forced Bogdan into another good stop low to his right with a volley from the edge of the area as Gers went looking for the winning goal, but it wasn’t to be, with Hibernian holding out for the point.
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson (Katic, 61), Worrall, Halliday; Jack, Coulibaly (Rossiter, 85), McCrorie; Candeias, Morelos, Middleton (Lafferty, 85).
SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, Wallace, Flanagan, Dallas.
HIBERNIAN: Bogdan, Hanlon, Slivka, MacLaren (Gray, 70), Boyle, Mallan, Stevenson (Mackie, 45), Hyndman (Horgan, 66), Kamberi, McGregor, Ambrose.
SUBS NOT USED: Dabrowski, Whittaker, Shaw, Gullan.
REFEREE: Andrew Dallas