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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 August, 2003, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Rangers see off unlucky Hibs
Michael Mols is congratulated on his first goal
Michael Mols is congratulated on his first goal
Rangers 5-2 Hibernian

Rangers finally saw off the challenge of Hibs with an improved second-half performance, but the visitors will know they passed up a great chance of taking something from Ibrox.

Hibs twice took the lead in the first half, through Ian Murray and then Tam McManus, but the home side drew level each time, thanks to goals from Michael Mols and a Murray own goal.

McManus missed an early second-half penalty and that was to prove crucial as Rangers took command and scored further goals through Mols, Zurab Khizanishvili and Chris Burke, but the scoreline was harsh on the visitors.

Capucho almost opened the scoring in bizarre fashion after four minutes when his long pass was left by everyone and flew just inches wide of Daniel Andersson's post.

Hibs clearly felt they could take something from the game and their attacking line-up looked capable of hurting Rangers.

Their first effort on goal was a Tam McManus free kick that was deflected wide.

Mols volleyed over from a great position but a free kick had already been given against him for a push on Mathias Doumbe.

Hibs had another chance when McManus found Derek Riordan lurking six yards out, but the young striker's header lacked sufficient power to trouble Stefan Klos.

A sweeping Rangers move involving Mikel Arteta and Paolo Vanoli almost led to the opening goal, but Mols was unable to turn the ball into the net.

Ian Murray celebrates putting Hibs in front
Ian Murray celebrates putting Hibs in front
Murray shocked the home fans when he gave Hibs a 29th minute lead. The home defence was caught napping as McManus was given acres of room to pick out his target and Fernando Ricksen had allowed Murray plenty of space to head past Klos.

Rangers were not behind for long, though, as Vanoli curled an inviting cross from the left and Mols got his toe to the ball to divert it past Andersson.

But, incredibly, Hibs regained the lead only two minutes later - a magnificent volley from McManus from the angle of the box leaving Klos helpless.

The game took another twist three minutes before the interval when an inswinging corner by Arteta came off the head of Murray and into his own net.

The second half started as explosively as the first had finished, and Hibs should have taken the lead for the third time when Zurab Khizanishvili fouled Murray in the box, and referee Dougie McDonald awarded the penalty.

But McManus' spot-kick was soft and Klos saved comfortably to keep Rangers on level terms.

Alen Orman and Capucho had efforts saved at either end as the relentless pace continued.

Rangers took the lead for the first time just after the hour mark when Henning Berg lofted a hopeful ball into the Hibs area, which Mols took down before turning to thrash the ball in off Andersson's leg.

The home side moved further ahead midway through the second half when Arteta swung a free kick in from the left and although Khizanishvili may have got the slightest of touches, the ball flew past Andersson and into the net.

With six minutes left Rangers sub Chris Burke added a fifth for Rangers, to put a very harsh reflection on the scoreline as far as Hibs were concerned, but the young winger showed no mercy in lashing the ball past the Hibs keeper after Mols had put him in the clear.

Rangers: Klos, Ricksen, Berg, Khizanishvili (Malcolm 80), Ball, Arteta, Ferguson, Vanoli (Nerlinger 64), Capucho (Burke 66), Mols, Arveladze.

Subs Not Used: McGregor, Ross.

Hibernian: Andersson, Orman, Doumbe, Smith, Zambernardi, McManus (Glass 72), Scott Brown, Brebner, Murray, Riordan (Whittaker 90), O'Connor (Dobbie 61).

Subs Not Used: Hyldgaard, Wiss.

Booked: Murray.

Att: 49,642

Ref: D McDonald

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