Rangers revenge: Hibs are braced for backlash in ferocious clash

Hibs manager Jack Ross says he fully understands Rangers’ desire for revenge, admitting that the will to right some wrongs of their own helped fuel his team’s recent cup victory over the Ibrox outfit.

Hibs defeated Rangers 3-1 at Hampden.
Hibs defeated Rangers 3-1 at Hampden.

Having come close on numerous occasions in recent times, Hibs always believed they were capable of producing winning performances against Rangers and the Premier Sports Cup semi-final win at Hampden 10 days ago vindicated that self-belief. But now, as they welcome the Govan side to Easter Road, the aim is to prove that the result was not a one-off.

“It’s not too often that the Old Firm lose consecutive games against the same opponent,” said Hibs manager Jack Ross, who is hoping the cup match, as well as the weekend 2-1 win over St Johnstone, which ended the unenviable streak of five league losses, will have kickstarted a more positive period for the his men and help escalate their passage up the league standings.

“But, for us, there is a real significance in continuing to win league games and climbing the table irrespective of our opponent

Martin Boyle is back from suspension.

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“It’s about the same approach to the game in terms of what we did to win that semi final and the intensity we played with. We need to repeat that.

“There has been a bit of an edge to the games in recent times and I would expect in the aftermath of the semi final for that to be the same.

‘That helps players because I’d imagine atmosphere-wise, Easter Road will lend itself to hopefully the same type of game as we saw at Hampden.”

The antipathy between the clubs, at many levels, has been obvious for a while and with neither willing to ease up when it comes to head-to-heads, there is a feistiness that seasons each meeting.

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Hibs manager Jack Ross.

“Until you’re involved in the fixture you maybe don’t appreciate the ferocity and intensity of it,” conceded Ross, who, having sussed out Steven Gerrard’s approach, now faces the fresh task of figuring out new counterpart Giovanni van Bronckhurst.

“There’s obviously been tweaks made, especially in the forward areas. But it’s also the same personnel with the same individual qualities that we’ve faced in recent times.

‘We have dealt with quite a lot in this fixture, right back to my first one when the dugouts had a bit of a disagreement, through to the aftermath of recent games. There’s always been something. But it’s okay, I don’t mind it. I think the games have all been really good recently.

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“I don’t mind Rangers players saying [they want revenge] – they are not used to losing many games. It was a big game for them to lose and they want to put it right.

“Just as much as we wanted to put it right the fact we had not won any of those games previously when we felt we had played well and felt we had maybe been on the wrong end of one or two decisions. But our motivation will be the same as theirs and going into it on the back of the result 10 days ago is massive for us in terms of that real sense of self belief that we can go win the game again.”

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