Glasgow Rangers 3-0 Hibernian

Rangers restored their 10-point lead at the top of the Scottish

Premier League with a 3-0 win over high-flying Hibernian at Ibrox

on Sunday.

Steven Whittaker set the ball rolling with a second-half

strike, before Kris Boyd netted his 21st goal of the season from

the penalty spot and Kenny Miller put the gloss on the win as the

Scottish champions strengthened their grip on pole position.

However, the victory over third-placed Hibs could be

bittersweet for Boyd with unconfirmed reports suggesting a yellow

card he picked up late in the first half could rule him out of this

month’s crucial Old Firm derby.

Rangers boss Walter Smith boasted a full squad to choose from

“for the first time in a long time” as DaMarcus Beasley made his

first appearance since suffering a thigh injury back in

mid-December.

Kevin Thomson was also back in the starting line-up after the

draw with Motherwell on Wednesday night, while Kirk Broadfoot and

Steven Naismith both dropped out of the squad.

Hibs boss John Hughes shuffled his pack after their midweek

draw with Aberdeen, handing Alan Gow his first start and dropping

Derek Riordan and Colin Nish to the bench.

Rangers started the game strongly and had Hibs under pressure

right from the outset.

Beasley slipped a pass to Miller on the left flank and he

whipped a dangerous ball into the box where Boyd was loitering with

intent but goalkeeper Graeme Smith was able to gather before the

striker could connect.

Miller then collected a Thomson ball and, despite having

support from both Boyd and Beasley, opted to have a go himself and

rifled narrowly over the crossbar from just outside the area.

Hibs had a decent chance of their own when Merouane Zemmama

burst down the right wing before picking out Anthony Stokes at the

back post but he connected awkwardly with the volley and the effort

was off-target.

Some last-gasp defending was then required from Rangers when

Zemmama’s corner found Paul Hanlon at the back post and his header

appeared netbound until Sasa Papac hooked off the line to safety.

At the other end, David Weir claimed he was fouled in the box

by Chris Hogg but referee Steve Conroy ignored the appeals for a

penalty from the Ibrox skipper.

Beasley was withdrawn at the interval for Kyle Lafferty and

the Northern Irishman wasted no time in testing Smith with an

angled drive within seconds of the restart.

He may not have claimed the opener with that effort but

Lafferty did have a part to play in the breakthrough goal with 50

minutes gone.

Whittaker weaved his way into the box before laying off to

the big striker who knocked the ball back into the path of the

utility man to lash past the Hibs goalkeeper into the top corner.

Rangers could have claimed a second when Madjid Bougherra

embarked on one of his trademark runs up the pitch before chipping

into the path of Boyd but Sol Bamba made a timely intervention

before he could pull the trigger.

There was a moment of concern for the home side when Zemmama

unleashed a thunderous shot from 20 yards which was blocked, and

then spilled, by Allan McGregor but the Rangers goalkeeper

recovered just in time to prevent the ball from trickling over the

line.

However, any hopes of a Hibs comeback were dealt a blow when

Miller was felled in the box by Bamba and the referee pointed to

the penalty spot.

Boyd stepped up and drilled low under the body of Smith to

double the advantage with 72 minutes on the clock, before making

way for Nacho Novo before the celebrations had even ended.

It was Miller who had the final say when he raced on to a

slick Thomson pass before rolling low into the net in injury time

as Rangers flexed their title credentials with a 3-0 win.