Date: 25th July 2015 at 4:11pm
Written by: Al

Hibs first competitive match of the season bore a shocking final result as a young Easter Road side capitulated against a new look Rangers.

Alan Stubbs was without new signings Dan Carmichael, Marvin Bartley and James Keatings whilst Martin Boyle, Danny Handling and Farid El Alagui were also absent through injury.

There was no sign of Scott Allan in the Hibees starting line up and the player, a signing target for the Ibrox outfit, had to settle for a place on the bench amid speculation over his future.

Allan’s exclusion saw a first start for 18 year old Scott Martin in the home side’s midfield where he was joined by Fraser Fyvie and Sam Stanton.

It all started so well for Alan Stubbs men when they took a 16th minute lead when Stanton ran through some poor defending by the ‘Gers to fire past Foderingham from 20 yards and the home side completely dominated the first half hour of play.

Such was their dominance they could easily have been three or four up.

Dominique Malonga somehow managed to miskick from 12 yards out, Jason Cummings saw a header blocked by a defender and Liam Fontaine missed a free header from 6 yards out as Hibs looked in complete and utter control of the match.

However, as seen with Hibs far more often than any other team, their soft underbelly was ruthlessly exposed by a Rangers side who had flattered to deceive in the opening period.

Paul Hanlon gave away a needless free kick on the edge of the box five minutes before half time which saw James Tavernier curl home a beautiful equaliser for the visitors.

The leveller provided the impetus required for the Ibrox side who from that moment on looked livelier, fitter and stronger than Hibs who’s midfield trio spent the remainder of the match giving their opponents far too much room all over the park.

Rangers second a minute before the break was a catalogue of defensive errors from Stevenson, Hanlon and Fontaine with the end result leaving Martyn Waghorn a simple finish from around 4 yards.

Having largely impressed in the first half the home support were looking for a quick fire response from the Hibees in the second half but their hopes were waning within two minutes of the period beginning when a speculative effort from Waghorn from the left hand side, 12 yards out squirmed through Mark Oxley who will be disappointed with his goalkeeping.

Rangers had came out showing they were up for a fight and both Halliday and Kiernan were lucky to escape Willie Collum’s notebook with the latter’s studs up challenge particularly fortunate.

Hibs were to suffer another injury blow in the 52nd minute with Jordan Forster being replaced by Scott Allan who received a warm welcome from the Hibs fans in attendance.

Forster sadly, was indicating he’d pulled a hamstring to the home bench and Stubbs will be hoping the big defender has a strain rather than any significant damage.

It was Hibs second forced change of the match after Malonga, maligned by some supporters for limping out a derby match last season, was forced off in the 24th minute with another groin strain and was replaced by young Lewis Allan who had then partnered Jason Cummings.

Hibs did manage to force their way back into the match having reshuffled their pack and reverted to a 4-4-2 formation after Forster’s injury when Jason Cummings converted a penalty after he’d been fouled by Danny Wilson.

The joy of getting back into the game was to be short lived when only two minutes later the visitors extended their lead.

Having made a double substitution with Miller and Shiels replacing Holt and Templeton, Hibs were caught short by a quick throw in saw Andy Halliday fire a shot over Oxley who will once again question his positioning for the goal.

Having conceded a fourth Stubbs’ side seemed to lack belief and their play was disjointed and application down.

Rangers seemed to be given the freedom of Leith and added a fifth when Miller netted after Clark had remained unchallenged on the Hibs left to cross for the veteran to score.

David Gray thought he’d pulled a goal back for his side when he nodded home a Stevenson cross but it was disallowed for reasons unknown to everyone bar the East Stand side linesman.

Hibs misery was complete with eight minutes remaining when Miller added a sixth from a suspiciously offside position but by this time it was clear the Leith side had downed tools.

All in all an extremely bad day at the office for all connected to Hibernian. Improvements must be made – and quickly.

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