Rangers 2-0 Hibs: James Tavernier stars as Gers keep pressure on Celtic at top of Premiership pile


James Tavernier scored one goal and set up another as Rangers beat Hibernian 2-0.

Tavernier’s fifth-minute penalty sent Rangers on their way to victory at Ibrox.

Hibs had a decent spell during a first-half blizzard but Alfredo Morelos put the game beyond the visitors with an emphatic finish in the 57th minute, although Shaun Maloney’s side rallied late on.

The roar that greeted the second goal was soon eclipsed as news came through of Aberdeen’s equaliser against Celtic, but Rangers ultimately finished the night still one point behind the Premiership leaders.

Rangers had Glen Kamara in for the injured Ryan Jack while Hibs lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Lewis Stevenson in central midfield.

The visitors’ plans came unstuck when Paul McGinn made an unnecessarily risky challenge on Ryan Kent near the byline and referee Nick Walsh immediately pointed to the spot. Tavernier sent his penalty down the middle.

Tavernier set up Scott Arfield with a great ball over the top shortly afterwards, but the midfielder cushioned his volley just wide.

Both sides lost defenders to injury with McGinn and Leon Balogun going off in quick succession. On-loan Fulham winger Sylvester Jasper came on for Hibs as Chris Cadden dropped back to right-back, and the former Motherwell man was fortunate not to concede a spot-kick for a push on Kent.

Borna Barisic entered the fray for Rangers for the first time since being taken off following an awful first-half performance at Celtic Park and the left-back was soon booked for a wild challenge on Jasper.

Hibs had chances midway through the half. Allan McGregor palmed away Kevin Nisbet’s first-time effort and Ewan Henderson’s free-kick and Demetri Mitchell curled another set-piece onto the roof of the net.

Ryan Porteous also claimed for a penalty following a clash with Calvin Bassey, but Walsh penalised the Hibs defender.

Rangers finished the half strongly. Morelos missed a good chance after Porteous had gifted the hosts possession on the edge of his box, and Kent fired wide after good work from the Colombian.

James Tavernier and Alfredo Morelos celebrate

There was a flashpoint in the 51st minute when Arfield went in for a bouncing ball with his studs up and caught Porteous. The defender, who was sent off on his last visit to Ibrox, went down clutching his shin but Walsh gave a free-kick and no card.

Rangers doubled their lead when Tavernier’s pass slipped in Morelos in the right channel and the Colombian fired high into the net.

Tavernier later produced the same pass after winning possession and breaking from his own half, but goalkeeper Matt Macey this time got his hand to a more subtle effort from Morelos.

Macey soon made another good stop from Kent from a chance which again came from Hibs losing the ball in the Gers half.

Hibs had a series of chances to liven up the final stages. Porteous could not get a strong enough connection from Chris Mueller’s inswinging corner, McGregor denied Cadden and Jasper and substitute Mueller headed wide from 12 yards.

Steven Davis of Rangers is congratulated by team mates

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