Hibernian 1-4 Rangers: Michael Beale stays unbeaten as boss

Hibernian 1-4 Rangers: Michael Beale stays unbeaten as boss, with Antonio Colak double helping visitors cruise to comfortable victory at Easter Road

  • A Conor Goldson own goal gave Hibernian the lead after just eight minutes
  • But Rangers replied four minutes later with James Tavernier’s penalty
  • Antonio Colak then scored twice as visitors ran out comfortable winners

On nights such as these, Michael Beale’s unshakable belief in Rangers’ direction of travel under him stands up to all scrutiny.

Another tricky assignment on the road ticked off in quite devastating fashion, the Ibrox manager’s impact on the club over the duration of almost three months is now substantial.

Week by week in the Premiership, he’s clocking up wins and earning the trust of more of the doubters. Ensuring this short-term bounce equates to tangible success in the longer-term is now the task.

The manner in which his side came from behind to sweep away Hibs was hugely impressive. If this is indeed a taste of what’s to come from a recalibrated side further down the line then the optimism which Beale exuded earlier this week will be entirely justified.

Notwithstanding a poor start during which they fell behind to Connor Goldson’s own goal, his side were excellent here, the performance arguably the most complete of the 13 league games to date.

Antonio Colak slotted twice in a comfortable win for Rangers away against Hibernian

They never looked back once James Tavernier converted a VAR awarded penalty. Antonio Colak claimed a brace either side of fashion Sakala’s smart finish. Beale’s only minor gripe will be that his side only netted a fraction of the chances they created.

Hibs simply had no answer once the visitors got going. Lee Johnson’s men looked beaten long before a barrage of goals took the game away from them.

Their five-game unbeaten run allowed them to approach this with no little optimism yet they were second best all over the park for the vast majority of the evening. No complaints could be offered.

This game took the Rangers manager full cycle. Hibs had been his first opponent at Ibrox back on December 15.

A run of 14 wins and a draw in 16 matches since that night would normally be a source of envy but the mood music around the club of late has been decidedly downbeat, largely as a result of the display in the Viaplay Cup Final loss to Celtic. This sparkling display will assuredly change that.

Colak had spoken about the need for the visitors to rise above the chaos that’s so often been associated with this fixture and they did just that.

A highly-charged encounter at the best of times, last night’s game was brimming with emotion as the home club played in Leith for the first time since the passing of owner Ron Gordon.

Hibs had asked their supporters to come early to pay tribute to the man who’d taken control of the club nearly four years ago. They certainly did him proud, raising the roof as Sunshine on Leith echoed round the ground before kick-off.

Regrettably, Beale’s request for the tribute to be respected by visiting fans was largely ignored.

Colak struck twice either side of half time to put Michael Beale’s men in control 

Hibs certainly made the kind of start to the game that their late owner would have approved of.

On the front foot from the off, Matthew Hoppe weakly fired a decent opening wide.

Todd Cantwell’s misplaced pass led to him taking the legs from Elie Youan 25 yards out. The resultant free-kick was sent deep by Ewan Henderson. Unmarked at the far post, Hoppe guided the ball back across the six-yard box.

Try as he might, Goldson couldn’t prevent himself from turning the ball into his own net.

Yet within 60 seconds, the joyous mood among the home fans had turned to one of apprehension then deflation.

Quite why referee Don Robertson didn’t see CJ Egan-Riley take Ryan Kent’s legs at first glance only he could explain. The intervention of VAR Gary Hilland ensured justice was belatedly done.

David Marshall anticipated that Tavernier would send the spot-kick to his right but the strike was too clean and powerful for him to stop.

It was as if a switch had been flicked in the away camp. Sluggish and ragged up until that point, Rangers immediately engaged top-gear.

Their passing was sharper, their pressing more aggressive. Hibs became passive and ponderous on the ball.

The domination of Beale’s men produced enough chances to put the game out of sight by half-time.

Kent clipped a Sakala cross just wide of the far post. Tavernier’s cross was knocked down by the Zambian into Kent’s path. Marshall was right behind the strike.

Hibs looked vulnerable any time Rangers launched a counter-attack. Tavernier’s ball over the top found Kent striding away from a static back-line. Chris Cadden’s recovery tackle had to be spot on and it was.

Colak was next to etch his name in the ‘near miss’ category when he steered Sakala’s cross over the bar.

Cantwell’s cross then sat up perfectly for Borna Barisic. Marshall gathered the Croatian’s volley but you sensed the second goal was coming.

Sakala was its provider, racing away from Cadden to fizz the ball across goal. On his toes, Colak produced a sweet clip from five yards out to take the ball over Marshall.

The space Hibs afforded Sakala on the flank was truly extraordinary. Ryan Jack simply found an area with a pass and put his team-mate within a few strides of goal. This time Will Fish produced the last-gasp tackle to keep the contest alive.

Hibs needed to produce something special after the re-start to change the course of the game. It simply didn’t materialise.

Fashion Sakala added the fourth for Rangers, who cruised to another three points

Marshall did well to prevent Colak finding the third by diving as the forward’s feet as they contested Sakala’s low cross.

Yet the Hibs captain was culpable as Rangers doubled their lead seven minutes after the re-start.

A loose kick up the field was seized upon by Jack whip shuttled the ball forward to Sakala. Having taken one touch to steady himself, he planted the ball in the bottom corner.

The game was won at that point but Rangers were utterly relentless. They found the fourth goal their performance deserved on 58 minutes.

The pint-point exchanges between Barisic, Tavernier and Sakala inside the box had Hibs chasing shadows. Colak applied the finishing touch from four yards.

Played as snow began to fall, the remaining minutes were like a training exercise for the visitors.

This was a night when Beale’s men set an extremely high standard. Maintaining it is now the key.

Source: Read Full Article