Rangers-Hibs reaction: Lundstram coming to the fore; Morelos flourishing; Jasper a bright spark for strugglers
A week after their chastening Old Firm defeat at Celtic Park, Rangers appear to have restored belief within themselves and their supporters.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side completed back-to-back home wins over the Edinburgh clubs as they followed up their 5-0 rout of Hearts with a less comprehensive but just as merited 2-0 voctory over Hibs.
Lundstram showing his worth
But the former Sheffield United player is now showing why van Bronckhorst’s predecessor Steven Gerrard talked up his capabilities at every opportunity following his signing last summer.
Lundstram was excellent against Hibs, dovetailing well with Glen Kamara at the hub of a Rangers formation which allowed Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent all the licence they could wish for to roam in support of central striker Alfredo Morelos.
Morelos holds the key
If Rangers are to overturn Celtic at the top of the table and retain the Premiership title, it cannot be overstated how much they will need their striking talisman to maintain his current form.
The Colombian striker has now scored nine goals in the 11 matches he has played under van Bronckhorst. The Rangers manager and his coaching staff deserve credit for further enhancing Morelos’ all-round game. His link-up play was of the highest standard against Hibs and he capped another fine overall display with his thumping finish for Rangers’ second goal.
Tough times for Hibs
While there were some encouraging signs in Hibs’ performance at Ibrox, a haul of just two points from their last six league games has now seen them slip out of the top six in the Premiership.
Shaun Maloney’s men got off to the worst possible start with Paul McGinn’s early concession of the penalty which James Tavernier converted to get Rangers up and running. They had a penalty shout of their own turned down when Ryan Porteous went down under a Calvin Bassey challenge but are a team not currently firing on all cylinders.
During their best spells on Wednesday night, their final pass or touch was poor. Kevin Nisbet’s woes continue with just one goal in his last 11 league games, the Scotland striker passing up a glorious chance to equalise when he sent a shot straight at Allan McGregor.
Ewan Henderson and substitute Sylvester Jasper were both bright sparks for Hibs but their season is now very much on the line when they face Arbroath at Gayfield in the Scottish Cup on Sunday.
Rangers (4-2-3-1): McGregor 7, Tavernier 7, Goldson 7, Balogun 5 (Barisic 14 6), Bassey 7; Kamara 7, Lundstram 8; Arfield 7 (Sakala 75 5), Aribo 7 (Ramsey 75 5), Kent 7; Morelos 8. Subs not used: McLaughlin, Zukowski, Davis, Sands, Diallo, Roofe.
Hibernian (4-4-1-1): Macey 6, McGinn 4 (Jasper 20 7), Porteous 6, Bushiri 5, Doig 6; Cadden 6, Doyle-Hayes 6, Stevenson 6 (Campbell 72 5), Mitchell 6 (Doidge 72 5); Henderson 7 (Mueller 64 5); Nisbet 5. Subs not used: Dabrowksi, Wright, Allan, McGregor, Scott.
Referee: Nick Walsh
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