Rangers player ratings as substitute Kemar Roofe marks return from injury by slotting home 84th minute penalty in battling win over Hibernian
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With Old Firm rivals Celtic not in action until Thursday, the league leaders clinched a hard-fought victory over Hibernian to move them seven points clear at the top of the Premiership table.
The Light Blues arrived at Easter Road seeking revenge after their Hampden horror show which saw Jack Ross’ men advance to the League Cup Final.
In a largely forgettable first-half devoid of clear-cut chances, Alfredo Morelos headed wide of the target from Joe Aribo’s clipped cross after finding himself unmarked in the penalty area.
The match seemed destined to finish goalless until Ryan Kent jinked into the box and was brought down by the trailing leg of Hibs defender Ryan Porteous.
Frontman Roofe, who had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes after replacing Morelos, confidently side-footed the resulting spot-kick into the bottom left-hand corner, sending goalkeeper Matt Macey the wrong way.
Chris Cadden fired inches past the post with a low effort late on as the home side pressed forward in search of an equaliser.
Despite their sluggish performance, the Ibrox club have crucially exerted pressure on their closest title challengers, who entertain Hearts at Parkhead on Thursday night.
GlasgowWorld rates how Giovanni van Bronckhorst’ side performed:
ALLAN McGREGOR - 7
Enjoyed relatively quiet evening. Forced into a near post save to deny Martin Boyle after 16 minutes but was rarely troubled. Commanded his box well and dealt with the majority of aerial balls reasonably well
JAMES TAVERNIER - 6
Terrific free-kick delivery after half an hour was glanced wide by Aribo. Suffered knock to his knee after a collision with Joe Newell in the second half. Offered little in an attacking sense
CONNOR GOLDSON - 6
Fortunate to escape an early booking when catching Josh Campbell on the halfway line. Booked shortly afterwards for needlessly bringing down Kevin Nisbet. Vital clearance after 53 minutes denied Nisbet a potential opener
CALVIN BASSEY - 6
Another assured display at centre-half and kept Hibs main attacking threats quiet. Gifted away possession and put his team-mates under pressure after 70 minutes but Cadden failed to capitalise
BORNA BARISIC - 6
Made important block to thwart Boyle’s goal-bound effort at the start of the second half. Solid defensively but like fellow full-back Tavernier he offered little going forward
GLEN KAMARA - 6
Oozes quality on the ball and tried his best to drive team-mates forward but couldn’t muster up many attacks. Workmanlike shift
STEVEN DAVIS - 5
Returned to the starting line-up after being granted a rest during the weekend win over Livingston but looked off the pace at times. Wasted positive opening on 55 minutes with a stray pass before being replaced
JOE ARIBO - 7
Connected with Tavernier’s early free-kick but failed to direct header on target. Set up Morelos with inch-perfect cross in first half and displayed great footwork to carve out 77th minute chance but effort hit the side netting
IANIS HAGI - 6
Lacked a turn of pace and was upended by Jake Doyle-Hayes after half an hour to win his team-mates a free-kick. Left-footed shot deflected off a defender and shaved right-hand post after 35 minutes
RYAN KENT - 7
Sloppy in possession during the first half. Unlucky not to break the deadlock on 64 minutes with driven effort which was expertly nodded over the crossbar by Porteous. Forced Macey into a save moments later and won decisive penalty for his side
ALFREDO MORELOS - 5
Lacked necessary service during laboured first-half but movement was good and posed Hibs defence a few problems. Missed sitter on the stroke of half time when heading wide from Aribo’s cross. Hooked just after the hour mark
SCOTT ARFIELD - 6
Came on for Davis after 66 minutes and provided much-needed energy. Carved out decent half-chance with impressive solo run and shot from distance
KEMAR ROOFE - 7
Looked very sharp on his return from an ankle injury, displaying some clever touches. Confidently dispatched match-winning penalty with six minute remaining
JOHN LUNDSTRAM - 3
Replaced Kent with four minutes left and helped shore up a tiring defence