Match Ratings – Rangers 6 (Six) – 1 Hibernian
Ibrox was as wet as ever on Sunday, and it was also very rainy. Rangers took on Hibs in our first home game of the league season, and we put in a magnificent display to finally thump the side from Leith, having played well enough to do so last season. With the feel good factor still well and truly present following the Midtjylland result, a couple of players came into the side with a point to prove, as well as others who maybe wanted to show how good they can really be. This, quite simply, was a performance that to be incredibly proud of.
Allan McGregor – 7
Not sure there is much he can do for the goal that Hibs score, but considering Hibs had a few other efforts at goal that were on target, McGregor did his job I would say. Nothing spectacular, but did what you could only ask of him.
James Tavernier – 8
He often received the ball from the middle, and we will get to the man who constantly fed him, and he would often make the usual forward runs we are so used to. And you have to say that he was effective in that, a real threat and made their left backs job a tough one, so much so that he would end up sent off.
Connor Goldson – 7
Handled the big lump of a striker as best he could, but his positioning for their goal, in spite of the excellent pass, was the one thing that you would maybe need to mark him down for, as the gap was a bit too wide for my liking. Other than that, no major issues.
Nikola Katic – 7
It takes two to tango, and Niko was also guilty of leaving a bit too wide of a gap for turncoat Allan to feed in Horgan. But, like Goldson, he handled their big striker with no real issue and the booking that he received was ridiculous.
Jon Flanagan – 7
Gave exactly what you would expect. He gave the ball away a couple of times, and is not great in possession (yes, I am being kind). But, again, he gave a solid defensive presence to the back line, and that continues to give benefit to those in front of him.
Ryan Jack – 9
This was one of the finest midfield displays that he have seen from a Rangers player in a long time. Ryan Jack was magnificent, dictated the play and would always find his target with a pass, that target being Tavernier, as well as staying solid in the challenge and unlucky not to score a couple of peaches. Strangely, the media in this country only seem interested in one moment from Scott Allan, rather than an overall supreme display from Jacko.
Steven Davis – 8
His game can best be described by one moment. At 2-1, with a man advantage, Rangers fans were beginning to get a bit nervy and desperate for our players to shoot and kill the game there and then. Davis, having controlled the loose ball 25 yards from goal, is the coolest head in the ground, runs past the Hibs defence and dinks a beautifully weighted ball across the goal for Defoe to head in his hat trick. Experience pays dividends, and that turned the game into the route it would become, Steven Davis, I salute you.
Joe Aribo – 8
It’s all becoming very usual with Aribo. Lovely on the ball, keen to get involved in the play, and would stand out a lot more than other had they not been so good. What is interesting is that he was less of a number 10 on this day, mainly as we simply didn’t need one, and offered great balance alongside Jack in the middle.
Sheyi Ojo – 8
A lot of pressure was being put on him from the stands, and sometimes he would make the wrong decision on the ball. But, you have to credit it for his direct approach which really caused the Hibs defence problems, and his work for our second goal could well be a watershed moment. He absolutely deserved his goal to cap off his performance, and I hope this gives him the confidence to push on because playing like that against these teams will see results.
Jermain Defoe – 9 – Man of the Match
The perfect hat trick and a practically perfect strikers performance. I loved the fact that he was subbed off straight after his third goal. The first is strikers instinct, the first to react to a loose ball and tuck it away. The second, right place at the right time again to get on the end of an excellent move from our attacking players. And a header, against defenders much taller than him, just shows that Scottish Premiership defenders are simply bread and butter for this striker.
Jordan Jones – 9
Sometimes we see a player put in an excellent performance and it be followed up by an average display. Not here! His direct approach made Steven Whittaker cry inside (poor him) and his speed meant that in a matter of seconds we went from middle of the park to bye line. He believes he deserves to be in that team, and so do I.
Alfredo Morelos – 9
What a magnificent 20 minutes from Morelos. Direct, strong, and two goals that were absolutely stunning. Making a mockery of the Hibs defenders, he replied to Defoe’s performance in absolutely the right way. I’ve talked before about Defoe being an ideal super sub for Morelos in games, but now it’s just as good the other way around. Pinch me, I’m dreaming!
Greg Stewart – 6
Not much to do when he came on, but letting Morelos just get on with it was more than enough.
Andy Halliday – 6
I was desperate for Halliday to get a late goal and do an Adebayor style celebration right in front of the away fans. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, but he got to feature in a game where we absolutely cuffed that lot, and really shut their fans up.