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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 January, 2004, 14:24 GMT
Hibernian 0-2 Rangers
Chris Burke is tackled by Kevin Thomson
It was a very scrappy match at Easter Road
Rangers began their defence of the Scottish Cup with a win in a bad-tempered, scrappy match at Easter Road.

In a game short on quality play and full of ill-timed tackles, Shota Arveladze headed the opening goal after 35 minutes.

Peter Lovenkrands added a second goal early in the second half and the visitors always looked likelier to add to the scoring.

Hibs matched Rangers for commitment but lacked punch and ideas up front.

The home side were dealt a blow after 10 minutes when Grant Brebner was carried off after landing awkwardly on his shoulder. Kevin Nicol came on to replace the midfielder.

The opening half hour was played at a furious pace and, with both sides flying into some crunching challenges, the game was littered with fouls.

With play punctuated by a rash of free kicks and yellow cards, there was little attacking rhythm and neither goalkeeper was called into action.

Rangers winger Chris Burke was the next casualty and had to leave the field after 33 minutes, having gone over on his ankle.

Hamed Namouchi came on for his Rangers debut and was immediately involved in the opening goal.

The youngster outjumped Steven Whittaker to meet a cross from Lovenkrands and steered the ball towards a Arveladze, who headed home from a suspiciously offside close range position.

Mikel Arteta goes past Kevin Thomson
Both sides battled for every ball
Rangers goalkeeper Stefan Klos had to look smart to gather a low drive from Scott Brown and Namouchi saw his fizzing long range effort go narrowly wide of the target as a scrappy first half drew to a close.

The second half was just three minutes old when Lovenkrands extended the visitors' lead.

The speedy Danish international raced unopposed down the left flank and cut into the penalty box before unleashing a fierce shot that beat Hibs keeper Daniel Andersson at the near post.

A very young Hibs side battled to get back into the match but were guilty of over zealous tackling and seldom troubled the Rangers defence.

Stephen Dobbie did latch on to a headed lay-off from Garry O'Connor but his powerful 20-yard strike was beaten away by Klos.

With Hibs pushing men forward and defender Colin Murdock repeatedly making a mess of the offside trap, Rangers were finding gaps in the home rearguard but could not add to their lead.


Hibernian: Andersson, Smith, Murdock, Brebner (Nicol 12), O'Connor, Riordan, Doumbe, Whittaker, Dobbie, Brown, Thomson. Subs Not Used: Hyldgaard, Baillie, Reid, Orman.

Rangers: Klos, Ricksen, Berg, Malcolm, Vanoli, Khizanishvili, Capucho (Mols 45), Arteta, Arveladze, Lovenkrands, Burke (Namouchi 32). Subs Not Used: McGregor, Ball, Ostenstad.

Attendance: 11,392
Referee: M McCurry






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