20 September 2020 20:35
Hibernian 2 Rangers 2 Rangers moved clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership once more after this draw at Easter Road but suffered a blow in their bid to win a first title under Steven Gerrard, with Celtic only a point behind but with a game in hand and an Old Firm derby at Parkhead looming. Celtic, in last week's meeting with St Mirren and again on Saturday at home to Livingston, demonstrated the art of coming from behind to secure victory, an accomplishment which eluded Rangers, who trailed to Drey Wright's opener midway through the first half, moved in front with goals from Alfredo Morelos and Scott Arfield on either side of the interval, but conceded the equaliser to Christian Doidge late in the proceedings. Hibs needed a spectacular save from Ofir Marciano to keep Ryan Kent at bay and the goalkeeper made an equally eye-catching double block to stop Arfield adding to his total in the closing minutes, but they were entitled to satisfaction at their part in an encounter which proved absorbing throughout. Gerrard's players came into the fixture with an unblemished defensive record of seven league games without the concession of a goal and there was next to nothing in the opening quarter hour to suggest that their rampart was about to breached. Rather, it was the Hibs back line who came under relentless pressure which should have seen Rangers take the lead as Morelos met a cross from James Tavernier with a free header which he contrived to turn past the post when it looked simpler to get it on target.
When Hibs finally emerged from their defensive cocoon it was to serve notice that they could inflict damage and it took a fine one-handed save at full stretch to divert an angled drive from Kevin Nisbett for a corner kick. Hibs' next attack provided the breakthrough with Rangers failing to deal decisively with Martin Boyle's delivery from the right and, when it fell in front of Wright, the midfielder beat McLaughlin with a perfectly controlled low finish. There was an added sting for Rangers in the scorer's presence on the field, because Wright had come in for Jamie Murphy, who could not play against his parent club. The Ibrox side pulled level in first half injury time when Morelos was allowed free rein at the back post to rifle home a dropping ball and they went ahead 11 minutes after the break when a patient build-up was resolved by Ianis Hagi's touch to Arfield for a scoring shot. Hibs should have been level midway through the second half but both Nisbett and Doidge swiped fresh air in a frantic melee inside the box.
Subs (unused): McGregor (g), Bassey, Edmundson, Patterson, Jones, Balogun, Barjonas. Booked: Morelos. Referee: Don Robertson. JON MCLAUGHLIN 6 Conceded the first goals of his Ibrox career. Could do little about either and made a couple of solid stops. JAMES TAVERNIER 6 Kept honest defensively by the Hibs attack. Final ball could have been better at the other end. CONNOR GOLDSON 6 Has deserved the plaudits for Rangers' defensive resolve but made costly mistakes at the Hibs goals here. FILIP HELANDER 6 Much like his defensive partner, there were poor errors that overshadowed a largely decent display. BORNA BARISIC 6 Caught out in the build-up the opener. Grew into the game as an attacking threat. STEVEN DAVIS 6 Wasn't incisive enough on the ball in the first half. Better after the break but largely frustrating. SCOTT ARFIELD 8 The best of the midfield three by a distance. Deserved his goal and should have had a second in an excellent showing. GLEN KAMARA 5 Uncharacteristically poor in possession. A rare off day for the normally reliable midfielder. IANIS HAGI 5 Lovely play in the build-up to Arfield's goal was the highlight. Didn't offer anywhere near enough overall on a low-key afternoon. RYAN KENT 7 Rangers' most potent threat once again as he always looked for the ball to hurt Hibs. Set up Morelos to make it 1-1. ALFREDO MORELOS 7 Didn't get the service that he needed on a day of few chances. Terrific finish pulled Rangers level. Substitutes: JERMAIN DEFOE 4 (for Hagi 74) Looked sharp in the closing stages but no goal to save Rangers. CEDRIC ITTEN 2 (for Kamara 84) Couldn't net his first Gers goal to win it off the bench. RANGERS defender Calvin Bassey has had no shortage of world-class left-backs to look up to during his formative years, but reckons there is one player more than any other that always fascinated him - Real Madrid's Marcelo. The 32-year-old Brazilian, widely considered to be one of the best left-backs of his generation, is as well-known for his marauding runs down the wing and skill with the ball as he is his outstanding defensive ability. Growing up and learning from the sport's best by watching them play regularly on television, Bassey says there is no better example for how a modern full-back should play than the Real Madrid mainstay - and revealed his admiration for 19-year-old Alfonso Davies, who has enjoyed a superb breakthrough campaign with Bayern Munich. Speaking to Rangers TV, Bassey explained: "Back then was Marcelo, I loved the way he got forward he was quality on the ball. "He'd do a little trick and get a cross in and get an assist or do a little trick and next thing you know he's had a shot and it's a goal, so Marcelo is definitely one of my heroes growing up. "Right now, Alphonso Davies is a great player. He's lightning-quick and his ability to get up and down is amazing. "I feel you should always be open to learn no matter the level you're watching or the level you're playing. I always try to watch as much football as I can and learn from players who are playing in my position. "I've always tried a little trick or a stepover or something. As the season goes on when I get to play more you'll see more tricks and more end product. "I've had a couple of opportunities to score which I should have scored so I'll be working on that in training."