RANGERS were held to a 2-2 draw by Hibernian at Easter Road this afternoon.
After falling behind to a Drey Wright opener, Gers fought back superbly to lead through goals from Alfredo Morelos and Scott Arfield before they were pegged-back by a Christian Doidge leveller.
From the team which defeated Lincoln Red Imps 5-0 in the Europa League on Thursday, Steven Gerrard named five changes with Jon McLaughlin, Fil Helander, Steven Davis, Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos coming in for Allan McGregor, George Edmundson, Kemar Roofe, Greg Stewart, and Cedric Itten in a very strong-looking XI.
Gers had an early shout for a pen turned down as Paul McGinn clipped Ianis Hagi in the area, while Alfredo Morelos came close to handing his side the lead, but he couldn’t turn a James Tavernier corner goalwards with his head.
Scott Arfield had a shot blocked on the line by McGinn at the end of super interplay from Hagi and Tavernier on the right, while Ofir Marciano grabbed a Connor Goldson header on a Borna Barisic corner kick.
Hibs had their first opportunity on 18 minutes, Kevin Nisbet spinning in the area and sending an effort arrowing for the top corner which Jon McLaughlin did wonderfully to reach one-handed to turn around the post.
Then, on 22 minutes, Hibs grabbed the lead. Martin Boyle worked space for the cross down the right and pulled it back for Drey Wright to slide the ball into the back of the net from eight yards out.
It was against the run of play, and Gers quickly dusted themselves down to re-assert their dominance of the game, playing much of their football in and around the home penalty area.
Then, in two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the half, the Light Blues drew themselves level through Alfredo Morelos’ fifth goal of the season.
A lovely one-two on the right put Ryan Kent into space to cross, and he stood a super ball up to the back post where the Colombian striker had peeled off his marker, and after bringing the ball down, he rifled it home.
The half-time interval followed soon afterwards, and McLaughlin was called into action within a minute of the restart to gather a Paul Hanlon header from a corner.
But from that point, it was one-way traffic, and Rangers made their dominance count on 57 minutes.
After having an initial cross cleared, the ball found its way back to Tavernier. Rather than swinging it in from deep, however, the skipper picked out Scott Arfield in space just inside the box. He exchanged passes with Hagi before the Romanian gave the Canada captain the ball back to fire beyond Marciano from 12 yards out.
It was brilliant from Gers, and the play from Hagi and Arfield to work the chance was truly top-class.
It was almost 3-1 on 61 minutes, Hibs already committing men forward to try to get back into the game were light at the back, and Hagi released Kent, but after terrifically skipping away from McGinn, Marciano did superbly to block his shot at goal.
There was a let-off for the Light Blues at the other end as a Joe Newell ball into the area prompted a bit of a scramble before Steven Davis was able to clear.
Hagi tested Marciano with a decent long-range drive, while Fil Helander headed a Kent corner just wide.
On 71 minutes, however, Hibs drew level with Christian Doidge nodding home a Martin Boyle cross at the back post.
Gers hit back though, and Marciano denied Arfield with an incredible double save – the midfielder was played in by a great Davis ball over the top, and Arfield got a shot away as the ball dropped from the sky.
Marciano blocked, the ball dropped again for Arfield, and somehow Marciano blocked again. Morelos then had the ball in the net in injury-time, but play was pulled back for an earlier foul.
RANGERS: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Helander, Goldson, Hagi, Davis, Kent, Kamara (Itten, 85), Morelos (Defoe, 75), Barisic, Arfield.
SUBS: McGregor, Bassey, Edmundson, Patterson, Jones, Balogan, Barjonas.
HIBERNIAN: Marciano, Hanlon, Porteous, McGinn, Wright (Hallberg, 90), Doidge, Boyle, Newell, Gogic, Nisbet, Doig.
SUBS: Barnes, Gray, Mallan, Stevenson, Gullan, McGinn, McGregor, Shanley.
REFEREE: Don Robertson