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Efe Ambrose Dazzles In Hibs Draw

Roddy Forsyth, Scottish Football Correspondent

Nigerian defender, Efe Ambrose was in splendid for after Rangers have scaled the summit of Scottish football twice this month but their view from the top has been fleeting.

Permitted only a peek from the peak, they were first beaten by Aberdeen and overtaken by Kilmarnock and now they have been held by Hibs and leapfrogged by Celtic, with profligacy inside the box being their undoing.

For Hibernian, this was the second instalment of an Old Firm double header and, having performed strongly to beat Celtic on Sunday, there was no call for Neil Lennon to make changes. Rangers also won on Sunday, but Steven Gerrard was unhappy with the failure to convert pressure into goals at home to Hamilton. Alfredo Morelos was available again after a two-game suspension and replaced Kyle Lafferty, while Lassana Coulibaly came in for Ross McCrorie.

This was the first meeting of these sides since May, when the outcome was an astonishing 5-5 draw, which see-sawed from a 3-0 lead for Hibs to a 5-3 advantage to Rangers before culminating in a split decision. By half time on this occasion, such a free-scoring outcome was an exotically remote prospect.

What had begun with an early and promising passage of thrust and counterattack mutated into a story of steady Rangers pressure and defiance from Hibs, who suffered a setback after 13 minutes when Ofir Marciano stepped forward to collect a dipping cross from James Tavernier. It seemed like a straightforward take but the goalkeeper sank to the turf and indicated that he had injured his calf.

He was replaced by Adam Bogdan, who became the busiest individual afield as Rangers pressed the jittery Hibs back line. Morelos, as usual, presented an eventful spectacle. On one of his frequent spells on the deck the Colombian was brushed by Steven Whittaker’s leg as the Hibs full-back passed him.

It was no more than a vestigial contact but Morelos clutched his head and writhed impressively, to the loud derision of the home support. When on his feet, the striker was a persistent nuisance to the Hibs back four and, inside the space of five minutes, he forced Bogdan into three saves, all at the expense of corner kicks.

The third of Bogdan’s interventions was a source of great relied to Efe Ambrose, whose slip had put Morelos in directly in front of goal. By contrast, Gerrard was entitled to fret about the inability to convert any of the chances created for his front man.

 

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