Rangers suffered a controversial and frustrating 3-2 defeat at Ibrox yesterday against Hibs. This was a game littered with incident and mistakes from players and the referee. The talking points article today will cover a lot more of this.

Rangers started with Morelos after his goals in midweek. Foderingham and Jack took their places back in the starting line-up also. Within 3 minutes, Morelos had justified his inclusion.

Some battling play on the right hand side saw Miller win a free-kick, fouled by McGeouch which was something said far too often. Candeias stepped up to whip in a cracking cross, and Morelos met it at the back post for a simple header. The Ibrox faithful went crazy, the players themselves went nuts, and it was another quick start and early goal.

A minute later, it was almost 2-0. A quick free-kick from Windass was a little too far ahead of Miller. The Hibs keeper came out to clear it, but his clearance was met by Miller’s left foot. The ball looked to be going into the net, but curled away at the last second beyond the far post.

A huge incident, and a real marker for what was to come, came not long afterwards as Stokes and Tavernier clashed. The former grabbed Tavernier by the throat whilst hauling him down. After the resulting shoving match between both sides, the referee took the easy option of booking both players.

On 19 minutes, Rangers were unlucky not to score. Jack picked up a clearance from Hibs and fed Windass on the left, who skipped by Whittaker with ease. His cut-back from the byline was met by Miller, but deflected onto the post by the Hibs defence.

It proved to be a pivotal moment, as just a minute later Hibs equalised. Rangers lost the ball upfield, with our right-hand side exposed. A quick pass to Simon Murray left him running at the Rangers defence, and Cardoso didn’t deal with it. His attempt to block the fake shot, along with Alves being sold through it, left Murray with a simple finish. It was the first real chance Hibs had created.

The game had started to become more even. Hibs formation was giving Rangers problems due to the extra man in midfield and leaving two up front. The 15 minutes after their goal were arguably controlled by Hibs without any real threat.

And then came the few minutes which decided the game.

A late challenge on Dorrans saw the midfielder react, and yet another shoving match. Replays show that Stokes had a hand on Ryan Jack’s throat and squared up to him, also coming forward to look for more once they were split up. Somehow, the referee felt that Jack had done something to merit a straight red card, and both Dorrans and McGeouch were booked for their involvement. Stokes and others escaped punishment as Rangers faces over 50 minutes with 10 men.

Very quickly from that, Rangers conceded a sloppy goal. Alves was caught on the wrong side of Murray, who ran past Hodson with ease. His cross was slowed up by the backtracking Dorrans, but fell to Slivka. His poor attempt at a cross somehow bounced off Tavernier, wrongfooted Foderingham, and slithered over the line. The goal changed the dynamic of the game hugely, even changing the substitution Caixinha intended to make.

Hibs almost scored a third before halftime, with Foderingham denying McGinn’s long range effort with a good save. Rangers couldn’t get out, with fouls being given for next to nothing and inconsistent bookings occuring. Morelos was penalised for having the audacity to put his neck into the arm of Darren McGregor.

At halftime, Rangers made a couple of changes. Wilson and Herrera came on for Hodson and Candeias. The formation became a 3-4-2 as they attempted to find a way to score, but it meant that possession and midfield battles were being conceded.

Paul Hanlon was being left to have the ball, to be the spare man Hibs would inevitably have anyway. This led to frustration in the stands, as Rangers couldn’t get a foothold in the game, and longer balls to Herrera wouldn’t stick whether he won the battle or not.

Rangers did have a couple of chances to equalise though. Cardoso missed a header from a corner, not hitting target when it looked like it was easy to score. Morelos was denied by a defensive deflection when he pounced on a loose ball in the box. The defending from Rangers was desperate, but the approach almost brought them back into the game.

Unfortunately, some loose defending led to Hibs third. Miller and Morelos went to close down the same player at a throw in, and it left Slivka free in the centre. From around 25 yards, he took a touch and lashed home a volley with his right foot. 64 minutes had passed, and the Rangers fans were pretty despondent.

The players kept going, but the extra man of Hibs made it too difficult. They benefitted from some strange refereeing, with the already-booked McGeouch being allowed to foul constantly. One on Morelos on the halfway should have resulted in a further yellow at least.

Rangers scored a consolation through Tavernier. A great cross from Wilson was met by the fullback at the back post, and looped into the far side of the net. It gave the fans some hope in the last 10 minutes, but ultimately wasn’t enough. A late free-kick by Alves was just too high, but in truth Rangers struggled to create much of note.

Hibs deserve some credit for how they lined up and approached the game, but they definitely benefitted from the referee on the day. If Stokes had been sent off inside 10 minutes, there could have been little complaint, and many other decisions went their way. The frustration as a Rangers fan is obvious, but even wider than that, both teams looked like they were in the mood, the game was decently balanced at 1-1, and that was competely ruined.

What was your take on the game? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!

RANGERS:

Foderingham; Tavernier, Cardoso, Alves, Hodson (Wilson 45’) Candeias (Herrera 45’), Jack, Dorrans, Windass; Morelos (Pena 65’), Miller.

SUBS: Alnwick, Wilson, Rossiter, Kranjcar, Holt.

Goals: Morelos 3’ Tavernier 81’

Yellows: Tavernier 7’ Candeias 32’ Dorrans 37’ Morelos 45’ Cardoso 74’

Reds: Jack 37’

HIBERNIAN:

Marciano, Whittaker, Hanlon, McGinn, Slivka (Gray 89’), McGeouch, S Murray (Swanson 81), Stevenson, McGregor, Ambrose, Stokes.

SUBS: Laidlaw, Fontaine, Matulevicius, Shaw, F Murray.

Goals: S Murray 20’ Tavernier OG 39’ Slivka 64’

Yellows: Stokes 7’ McGeouch 36’ McGregor 87’

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