Rangers manager Steven Gerrard saw his side leave it late to get the three points as Ianis Hagi’s late goal sealed a 2-1 win over Hibs.
Rangers made three changes to the side from the disappointing 0-0 draw with Aberdeen on Saturday as Matt Polster, Nikola Katic and Glen Kamara made way for James Tavernier, George Edmundson and Hagi.
It was Hibs who took the lead, against the run of play, as Paul Hanlon capitalised on a mistake to fire the Leith side ahead ten minutes before the break.
They didn’t keep the lead long though as Edmundson equalised right on half time to change the atmosphere immediately around Ibrox.
Despite dominating the second period, it took until the 84th minute for Rangers to take the lead as Hagi kept the Gers’ title hopes alive with a clever finish.
With Celtic winning at Motherwell, anything short of a win would have been disastrous in the title race but the Gers done well to keep pushing for the second goal that seemed inevitable for long spells.
Attention now turns to the Scottish Cup and the short trip to Hamilton to face Accies and divert attention away from the league for a week.
Here are three things we learned as Gerrard’s side picked up a crucial win over Hibs.
Ianis Hagi looks like he will be a game-changing player for Rangers
Happy to have made my debut for the club today. Thanks for such a warm welcome @RangersFC fans 💙 Let’s keep working and improving together as a team. On to Wednesday! #RangersFC #Faith pic.twitter.com/0VMdjfgfUS
— Ianis Hagi (@IanisHagi10) February 1, 2020
The Romanian international took a little bit of time to really get going but once he started getting on the ball he looked like a real threat to the Hibs defence.
Some of his runs in behind showed great intelligence but the others in the team weren’t always on the same wavelength as Hagi.
His chance right after the restart would have been an exquisite strike but went just wide of the post.
And then he scored with minutes remaining to cap off an impressive full debut for the 10-times capped star.
Certainly plays as though he has plenty of confidence in his own ability – and on this showing, it looks well-placed.
George Edmundson has a real chance to cement his place in the Rangers XI
The English defender was a surprise starter ahead of Niko Katic although the Croatian’s recent poor form maybe necessitated a change at the back. Edmundson has several weeks until Filip Helander returns from injury so could get a real chance to impress over the coming weeks.
Katic, obviously, has a bit of a head-start on him, but his performance tonight against Hibs will have done his chances of retaining his place no harm at all.
Getting on the scoresheet to make it 1-1 will also have given his confidence a big boost after making what was only his second league start for the club.
Suggestions Rangers’ bottle had crashed are misplaced
There had been claims that Rangers didn’t have the bottle for a title fight but the manner of the win over Hibs shows that simply isn’t the case.
Rangers absolutely dominated Hibs for long spells and should have won that game by a far bigger margin – but didn’t let Hibs’ dogged defending frustrate them.
Ianis Hagi’s late winner lifted a palpable tension that was hanging over Ibrox but it is clear the players still want this as much as the fans.
The title is still in Rangers’ gift but there can’t be any more slip-ups between now and May – and this squad have the bottle to do it.