Seventeen home games played in Premiership. Seventeen won. For the record, it was a perfect hit that ultimately continued Rangers’s flawless Ibrox record.
Ryan Kent can produce those moments. Floating along the edge of the penalty kick from right to left, he was given too much room to mentally filter his options.
First he stepped away from Joe Newell. Then Alex Gogic was caught on his heels. Kent pulled back his left shoe and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net.
The Rangers’ outstanding season continued with a 2-1 victory over Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership
Joe Aribo scored first from Rangers and sent sweet volley past Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano
It was measured to the millimeter, which gave Ofir Marciano no hope. Kemar Roofe applauded the excellence of his teammate. Steven Gerrard also did that in the technical field. It felt like an appropriate response.
It turned out that the value of the goal was as high as its beauty. Rangers needed it in the final bill.
Kent’s 62nd-minute peach had added to a first-half opener from Joe Aribo, but any sense of security was dispelled when Kevin Nisbet led Hibs back into the fray with 12 minutes to go.
That only made them the third Premiership team to score at Ibrox this season. Jack Ross’s side pushed for even more as the clock ticked. The Rangers held their own, thanks in part to an excellent defense by Filip Helander.
This result leaves the champions only four games to complete an unbeaten league game. More immediately, it was a good enough way to warm up for a Scottish Cup last 16 encounter with Celtic next weekend.
Ryan Kent doubled the Rangers lead with a shot into the bottom corner from outside the box
Gerrard’s men weren’t at their best. They only spark in fits and starts. But against an opponent pushing for third place in the top flight, the result would have been more than satisfactory.
Hibs remains four points ahead of Aberdeen in their specific match and should not take a single blow to their confidence. The Easter Road team has regularly threatened the counterattack, with Scottish newcomer Nisbet scoring his own goals to 15. Their next test comes in the Cup in League Two Stranraer.
This was the 300th league game between these clubs – not counting the wartime games. While not a classic, there was enough to hold interest after a slow start.
Kent and Jackson Irvine exchanged long-range shots – neither of which disturbed the opposing goalkeeper – before Rangers were rewarded by increasing the pace.
The accelerator was pressed for 19 minutes. Steven Davis gave Alfredo Morelos a small through ball to shoot over the face of the goal. His attempt seemed to go just wide and Kemar Roofe was sidelined when he slid in to force him over the line at the far post.
Hibernian pulled one back through Kevin Nisbet (second right), but it wasn’t enough for them
It was enough to bring the game to life. A great pass from Borna Barisic from the left was then answered right by Roofe. Marciano kicked the powerful header away, but Rangers held on to the pressure.
Nathan Patterson worked the ball back to Morelos, whose drilled crotch of Ryan Porteous’s shin flew into the air. Aribo watched the whole time, sending a controlled finish past Marciano for the 21-minute opener.
It was an eighth goal of the season for the Nigerian midfielder, who had looked in the mood here from the start. On his very first touch, he pulled the ball out of the air with super glue control. Drifting into space between Paul Hanlon and Josh Doig, he delivered an element of the unpredictable as he went on.
Aribo wasn’t Doig’s only concern. His match with Patterson threw two of Scotland’s best teen fullbacks straight into opposition. It was a fascinating little subplot within a first half that had become more engaging.
Hibernian was unwilling to roll. Going down too easily, however, was what Martin Boyle saw booked at 27 minutes when he was challenged by Connor Goldson in the area. It may have been a bit harsh on the part of referee Don Robertson to label what seemed like a ‘get together’ as a dive.
Steven Gerrard’s men are now four games away from an unbeaten league game season
Boyle, however, was a source of threat to the hosts. Operating freely on the right-wing back, he constantly tried to pressure Barisic.
One of those forays took him to the area, but he hesitated a bit in his attempt to find Nisbet when the Croat blocked. Then, five minutes before halftime, he dragged a right foot strike fractionally wide. Robertson awarded a corner kick, although there appeared to be no defensive touch. Hanlon ran off target from Boyle’s delivery.
Nisbet had left a little earlier. Rangers got a bit of a mess in their own territory, with a clever flight from Christian Doidge opening up space in the home defense. Newell used it to select the newcomer from Scotland for a flashy shot just inches from an equalizing goal.
While this fixture has often sparked controversy in the past, there was a calmer vibe about things as the snow fluttered gently down at Ibrox.
A small amount of heat was injected eight minutes after the restart. Connor Goldson headed over from a Barisic free kick and pushed Ryan Porteous away after the Hibs’ center-back fell on him. John Potter got a little excited in the tech room, with both Ross and Gerrard beckoning him to calm down, but they were handbags.