21-11-21 Rangers 1 Hibernian 3 Premier Sports (League) Cup

Watched by new Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst, sitting high up in the South Stand at Hampden, his new charges lost comprehensively to Hibernian.

The Light Blues, with most of their hordes of fans wearing orange, produced an incoherent, tepid performance.

And that meant Jack Ross's Hibees will now play Celtic in the final on December 19th.


The Edinburgh fans might have been outnumbered by about four to one but they were the ones celebrating at the end of this semi-final.

Though it was the Gers hordes who made the noise (and the orange smoke) to start with.

Their new Dutch coach, not involved yet in the proceedings, could obviously relate to the choice of colour.

But if he didn't know already he would now realise the extent of the task he now faces.

Rangers are four points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier but they certainly didn't look like champions based on this performance.

Perhaps having lost Steven Gerrard and being coached by caretakers took the edge of their efforts.

And maybe they will be galvanised by van Bronckhorst.

But it needs to happen quickly as they soon face Sparta Prague in a crucial Europa League encounter.

Meanwhile, at Hampden, Hibs got the action going when their hero Martin Boyle poked home from close range following a ninth-minute set-play.

The Edinburgh side had been disadvantaged by having to isolate for the best part of a month but it didn't show.

In fact, it probably gave their staff plenty of time to concoct a winning strategy.

As time wore on this preparation worked pretty much perfectly.

Hibernian had in fact troubled the Ibrox team when they last met, before going down to ten men.

This time there were no such mistakes and when Boyle was put through by Nisbet the auguries were not good for the Light Blues.

A third followed on 38 minutes when he was brought down by Steven Davis.

Boyle joyously converted the spot-kick.

Though Rangers would respond straight after when Porteous fluffed a clearance it was hard to see a complete reversal.

The pattern continued in the second period.

With Rangers looking incoherent and lacking fluency.

Too many of their potential match-winners eg Morelos and Arribo failed to spark. 

Despite various changes, including bringing on the prolific Sakara, the Ibrox team never created enough. 

Perhaps the best chance fell to defender Connor Goldson, near the end, but he blasted over, to sum up a disastrous afternoon for his team.

As the end neared, with large numbers of fans having left, it just remained for the supporters in green to enjoy the moment.

Exactly what Giovanni in the expensive seats thought of all this is yet to be determined.

Deserved winners Hibernian would now return to Hampden to meet Celtic on December 19th.


report and analysis - John Bethell


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