Rangers have closed the gap to Celtic back to two points after brushing Hibs aside at Easter Road 3-0 in an incredibly one-sided game in the capital which extended the Gers unbeaten away record in the league this season.
A two-goal blitz in the opening eight minutes from Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo left Jack Ross’ side sinking without a trace and put the Gers in the mood for a party.
The Light Blues looked hungry for goals as they kept the host pinned back for long spells with Kent, Aribo and Tavernier all having chances to add to the Gers’ lead before half-time but unable to find away past Marciano.
Seven minutes after the restart it was 3-0 though and the home fans were streaming for the exits as Defoe fired beyond Marciano to grab his fourteenth goal of the season.
Hibs were soon afterwards reduced to ten men for the final half an hour after a horrendous challenge by Ryan Porteous saw referee Nick Walsh head straight for his top pocket – sparking a melee on the touchline involving both benches.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) December 20, 2019
With the game over, Gerrard turned to his bench as he introduced Sheyi Ojo for the final fifteen minutes as the Rangers support enjoyed their Christmas party in the Easter Road stands.
Brandon Barker joined the fray shortly afterwards as the impressive Kent was withdrawn after a fantastic night’s work from the former Liverpool winger – with Greg Stewart also given a run out.
The Gers will be delighted with the performance at Easter Road and go into the Boxing Day clash with Kilmarnock in really good place.
Here’s how Steven Gerrard’s side rated at Easter Road as they cruised past Hibs:
Allan McGregor – 7
One save to make in the opening 45 as Hibs looked lost following the two-goal opening blitz. Involved almost as little after the break as he picked up yet another clean sheet.
James Tavernier – 7
Almost scored a header near half-time as the skipper put in an impressive shift down the right. Seems to be linking really well with Arfield and Aribo and is definitely getting back to his best.
Connor Goldson – 7
Rarely tested in the opening 45 and done everything he needed to do. Had a bit of a row with Tavernier at one point but will be happy with his performance against Hibs.
Niko Katic – 7
Given a chance to shine with Helander injured and the Croatian barely put a foot wrong. Doing his bit to prove he should keep his place in the side.
Borna Barisic – 8
What a find Barisic has become. He’s quickly turned into one of the most consistent players in the Ranger side and poses a massive threat down the left with his surging runs. Hibs had no answer to the Croatian international as he got forward with ease.
Ryan Jack – 8
The only player – at Rangers or anywhere else – who is more consistent than Barisic just now. Jack is just strolling through games and has taken his game to another level this season. Dominated Hibs’ midfield as he showed his class. Given an early breather as Greg Stewart replaced him with just over ten minutes left.
Glen Kamara – 7
Finnish midfielder is the unsung hero in midfield and is doing the things that are letting others have a bigger impact in attack. Such a classy player and every bit as important to the side now as Ryan Jack.
Scott Arfield – 8
The Canadian international is enjoying arguably his best spell since moving to Ibrox and when Davis returns to fitness Gerrard will be left with a real selection headache.
Joe Aribo – 8
Chased down Marciano to cause the opening goal before firing home the second just eight minutes in. Looking like a totally different player after being moved wide right. Replaced by Oyo for the last 15 minutes.
Ryan Kent – 9
Opened the scoring after four minutes in as Rangers threatened to run riot and showed fantastic composure to capitalise on Marciano’s mistake. The winger really looked up for it and is hopefully finding his stride now. When he’s on form, he’s unplayable. Replaced by Barker late on.
Jermain Defoe – 7
In the starting XI again thanks to Alfredo Morelos’ suspension and had a pretty quiet night as he struggled to get involved in the game before bursting into life and making it 3-0.
Substitutes: Sheyi Ojo – Replaced Aribo after 75 minutes. Brandon Barker – Came on for Kent as the minutes ticked down. Greg Stewart – Took over from Jack.