Have Rangers Got Enough About Them To Sink Hibs?

Ibrox Front

Tonight Rangers host Hibs in the first leg of their play-off semi final tie, yes it is all a bit long winded.

You’ll struggle to find a more important fixture between these two sides. The prize of becoming one step closer to a place in the Scottish Premiership is paramount for both sides.

The Edinburgh team edged the Glasgow giants out of second place in the Championship, thus meaning Rangers needed to play Queen of the South (QOS) twice while the Hibees enjoyed sun soaked training sessions in the Spanish sun.

To be honest that could and should have played into Rangers hands. With Alan Stubbs’ men undergoing warm weather training sessions yet lacking a competitive edge, the Gers side could have gained massive momentum by impressing with two well polished displays against the Dumfries side.

But alas after a decent 2-1 win at Palmerston Park, Rangers made a bit of a meal of it at Ibrox where they eventually edged through after an uninspiring 1-1 draw.

The Gers side couldn’t make their chances pay in the first half and then sloppy defending allowed The Doonhamers to take a lead against the run of play. That was a lead that lasted until the hour mark, when Rangers captain Lee Wallace slammed home from close range.

After that though QOS pushed Rangers all the way and during the last period of play they were the team in the ascendancy. A packed Ibrox crowd often looked on with eyes peering through fingers as the opponents had chances cleared off the line, last ditch tackles were made and corners flew into the Gers penalty area.

It certainly wasn’t a dominant Rangers performance, that would strike fear into the Hibs players. No doubt Stubbs, who was watching on as a BT Sport pundit, was actually looking forward to his sides trip through to Govan tonight.

The fact is that although Rangers are capable of beating almost anyone in Scotland on their day, those days don’t seem to be as frequent as they once were.

Too many in the squad are mediocre at best and a few are over the hill. Not enough in the pool are playing full of confidence. Nerves engulf the side, especially when things don’t click straight away. Chances are wasted and too many passes are misplaced.

No side comes to Ibrox, full or not, with any fear!

Hibs have won their last three league games quite convincingly. The Leith side have also won three out of the four previous league meetings with Rangers this season.

Since the turn of the year Alan Stubbs seems to be getting more of a top flight response from his players. With midfielder Scott Allan deservedly winning the Championships PFA Player of the Year award.

During the league campaign Hibs also had a better scoring record than their opponents, impressively they only conceded thirty-two times in the league (whereas Rangers conceded thirty-nine).

That said Hibs have a few questions hanging over them too, coming into this fixture.

Have they got the bottle in the bigger games?

The biggest game against Rangers came in their last encounter in March, where the light blues won 2-0 at Easter Road. Then came their 1-0 defeat to Falkirk in the Scottish Cup semi final. That ‘bottle’ question has to be answered.

As I’ve previously stated Rangers had a superb opportunity to come into this tie with momentum and their fans fully confident but alas like much of this season they have scrapped through with an uninspiring display.

They really need to step it up a level, if they can negotiate their way past a fairly competent Hibernian side.

I have no doubt that either of these clubs could knock out the other given some luck and a better level of performance but I also think that whomever reaches the final then they’ll probably come unstuck against Motherwell.

So don’t be shocked if both Rangers and Hibs remain in the Championship for another year.

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