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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 November, 2003, 16:56 GMT
Late Hughes strike floors Hibs
Hibernian 0-1 Rangers

Maurice Ross runs to congratulate scorer Stephen Hughes
Stephen Hughes was the toast of his Rangers team-mates
Stephen Hughes rescued Rangers' hopes of retaining the Scottish title as his stoppage-time strike brought victory at Easter Road.

The injury-hit reigning champions are now five points adrift of leaders Celtic but were lucky to survive unscathed in a first-half during which Hibernian squandered several chances to open the scoring.

Rangers improved after the break and their pressure finally told with the winner from the Scotland Under-21 midfielder.

It meant that visiting boss Alex McLeish extended his record of not been on the losing Hibs-Rangers encounters in Edinburgh to eight games - three of those while in charge at Easter Road.

He made just one change to the side that lost 1-0 at Stuttgart in midweek, with striker Michael Mols replacing midfielder Paolo Vanoli.

Rangers made a promising start, with Peter Lovenkrands heading an early chance wide after a Fernando Ricksen cross.

Hibs, unchanged despite their Edinburgh derby defeat, responded and Derek Riordan fired in a fierce drive that only just cleared the crossbar.

Strike partner Scott Brown was next to threaten, his rasping half volley hitting the side-netting from 18 yards.

Rangers remained dangerous and Shota Arveladze's shot from the edge of the Hibs box was deflected just wide.

Hibs should have taken the lead after 21 minutes, when Alen Orman's low cross was dummied by Grant Brebner and Ian Murray flicked the ball over the bar from three yards out under pressure from goalkeeper Stefan Klos.

Stephen Hughes drives home the winning goal
Stephen Hughes struck two minutes into stoppage time
Klos was rescued by a goal-line clearance from Arveladze after Mathias Doumbe poked the ball towards the Rangers net following a corner.

A Lovenkrands cross gave Michael Mols the chance to open the scoring, but the low shot under pressure from Gary Smith was blocked by the feet of goalkeeper Daniel Andersson.

Hibs had ended the first half on top, but it was Rangers who created the first chance after the break, Mols' cross finding Lovenkrands 12 yards out only for the striker to drive against Andersson after some good initial control.

Lovenkrands squandered another chance, breaking clear but sending his low drive a couple of feet wide from 16 yards.

Ricksen was next to threaten, a powerful drive from 20 yards skimming the crossbar.

The Dutchman was instrumental in the winner, his header being dummied by substitute Egil Ostenstad and Hughes powered his drive into the far corner from 16 yards.

Hibernian: Andersson, Smith, Murdock, Doumbe, Orman, Brebner, Murray, Thomson, Brown, O'Connor, Riordan.
Subs: Hyldgaard, McManus, Nicol, Whittaker, Dobbie.

Rangers: Klos, Ross, Khizanishvili, Berg, Ball, Capucho, Ricksen, Hughes, Lovenkrands, Mols, Arveladze.
Subs: McGregor, Emerson, Ostenstad, Vanoli, Burke.

Referee: S Dougal

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