Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst hails players’ perseverance as match-winner Kemar Roofe express delight in Hibs win

The Ibrox club moved seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership

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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst praised his side’s perseverance as they ground out an ugly 1-0 win over Hibernian at Easter Road.

The Light Blues knew victory in the capital would open a seven point cushion at the top of the Scottish Premiership as they aimed to pile the pressure back on Glasgow rivals Celtic, who face Hearts this evening.

Both goalkeepers have very little to do on a night lacking in goalmouth action until Ryan Porteous caught the creative Ryan Kent with a trailing leg in the 84th minute to concede a penalty.

Ryan Porteous and Chris Cadden can't believe it as referee John Beaton points to the spot late in the gameRyan Porteous and Chris Cadden can't believe it as referee John Beaton points to the spot late in the game
Ryan Porteous and Chris Cadden can't believe it as referee John Beaton points to the spot late in the game

Substitute Kemar Roofe, returning from a three-week absence with an ankle problem, calmly slotted the ball low into the bottom corner, sending Matt Macey the wrong way to hand the Gera maximum points.

A relieved Van Bronckhorst told Rangers TV: “I’m happy with the win. We always knew it was going to be a tough match but I’m very happy with the three points.

“We brought Kemar and Scott (Arfield) on to get the energy levels up and I think they showed that. I was pleased for Kemar to score the winning goal because he’s obviously been injured for a couple of weeks.

“The options are there to change things when games are tight. I’m very happy with the balance in the team. Sakala also gave us fresh legs up front and John Lundstram provided defensive stability late on.

“We had some chances in the first-half, the header from Morelos just before half-time and Ryan Kent always looked a danger.

“Coming to places like Hibs away is always going to be very difficult, they’re a good side and very well organised, so to leave here with a win and a clean sheet is massive for us.

“We have a short preparation time now before our next match but we have to keep going, recover tomorrow and prepare the players physically and tactically for Saturday.”

Goal scorer Roofe was thrilled to make a valuable contribution on his return and admitted he was envisaging scoring in front of the stand housing a packed out Rangers support.

He said: “First and foremost, it was good to get back out on the pitch and help the team win the game. We fought hard and myself and Scott have came on and managed to get us over the line.

“We’ve played three games under the new manager and picked up three wins, so it’s been a very positive start and things are going in the right direction.

“The gaffer told me to bring some energy, secure the ball and add some quality to the game and I tried my best to do those things.

“I was picturing in my head when I was warming up that if I came on I was going to be shooting towards our fans, so it was really good to get a goal.

“I just concentrate on my routine when taking penalties and hope it goes in the back of the net.

“I’ve missed a few games but I’m back fit and ready now.”