JASON Cummings has challenged rivals Rangers to respond to a first league defeat of the season after his goal set Hibernian on the way to a valuable 2-1 victory in a thrilling encounter at Easter Road.
Cummings fired an unstoppable shot past Wes Foderingham in the tenth minute of yesterday’s top-of-the-table clash to hand Hibs the lead.
Although Rangers equalised through a Lee Wallace effort that deflected off Hibs defender Darren McGregor, Paul Hanlon headed in a valuable winner with 18 minutes left.
Alan Stubbs’ side are now five points behind leaders Rangers after avoiding the potential nightmare of falling 11 points behind their rivals, which would have been the case had they lost.
Now Cummings believes the pressure is on Rangers to show what they are made of after suffering their first league defeat of the season. “The whole season they didn’t know what it was like as a team to get beaten, so it’ll be good to see how they react to that,” he said. “Now they know we are pushing them every week.
“It’s only five points, it’s nothing,” he added, of the gap between the teams at the top. “You can claw that back in a couple of weeks and hopefully that rattles them a wee bit. Our confidence is through the roof now. I can’t see us getting beaten any time soon and their heads are going to be down.”
Cummings described his goal as “probably the best I’ve scored” considering the significance of the game. But Stubbs focused on John McGinn’s contribution. His corner led to Hibs’ winner but he was a constant source of energy and inspiration.
“If I had to choose one word it would be ‘outstanding’,” said Stubbs. “He was the best player on the pitch. His range of passing was outstanding, his work rate for the team was unbelievable, his desire to win tackles and not be beaten was ridiculous at times. He’s got a fantastic opportunity to be a very, very good player.”
Mark Warburton, the Rangers manager, was frustrated that what he described as his side’s dominance, particularly in the second-half, did not produce a win. But he is happy with the situation the Ibrox side are in.
“If you’d said at the start of the season we’d played 12 and lost one, you’ve got 33 points and you’re five clear, I think anyone would take it,” he said. “We’re angry downstairs. We gave a good performance in the second half but we didn’t get our reward. We got the goal then, very respectfully, there was one team in it and how we haven’t won the game, again respectfully, I really don’t know.”