The visitors threatened straight from the off as Steven Davis's cross was headed over by Maurice Edu, who replaced Madjid Bougherra in the starting line-up in a reshuffle that saw McCulloch dropped back into defence.
Kevin Thomson's corner was headed towards goal by David Weir and flicked over by Kenny Miller, who moments later volleyed clear of the bar from a Lafferty head-flick.
Rangers' opener came when Miller lifted the ball forward for Lafferty to run on to and the Northern Ireland international held off the challenge of Darren McCormack and Chris Hogg before arrowing a left-foot shot into the far corner.
Hibs were being caught on the break with quick balls over the top and, in one such attack, Davis raced clear and tried to set up Thomson, who fouled keeper Smith as he tried to make contact with the ball and was promptly booked by referee Willie Collum.
Riordan tried to give the hosts more attacking impetus with a long-range dipping shot that was spilled by goalkeeper Allan McGregor before the danger was cleared.
A Thomson free-kick was headed back into the six-yard box by Weir for Edu to head over, Smith doing just enough to put the American off.
Walter Smith has won nine titles over two spells as Rangers manager
A teasing Rankin corner was glanced wide of the Rangers goal by the head of Paul Hanlon six minutes ahead of the break.
Hibernian were inches away from a leveller 10 minutes into the second half as Rankin's back-heel teed up Wotherspoon, who swept his shot just wide.
The home side were attacking with more purpose and Riordan skinned Steven Whittaker before going down in the box under the defender's challenge but referee Collum waved away the Hibs forward's spot-kick appeal.
Steven Naismith had replaced top scorer Kris Boyd in the Rangers starting line-up and drew a save from Smith with a powerful drive from the edge of the box.
Patrick Cregg's replacement Nish nodded a long ball down to Riordan, whose rasping volley was beaten wide by McGregor.
The game was becoming increasingly stretched and Edu's deflected drive whizzed beyond Smith's left-hand post.
Nish chested down a long ball and unleashed a shot into the net but the referee's whistle had already blown against the striker for a push on McCulloch.
And Rangers survived a late rally of Hibs corners to get the win they needed.
Live text and stats
Sunday, 25 April 2010
(HT 0-1)Rangers are champions
04 Hogg (Thicot 46)
08 Cregg (Nish 55)
18 Stokes yellow card (Benjelloun 73)
05 Papac yellow card
08 Thomson yellow card
18 Miller (Novo 76)
49 Kind Bendiksen,
Ref: CollumAtt: 10,573
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+2:37 The referee brings the game to a close.
89:52 John Rankin challenges Nacho Novo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
89:30 Corner from the left by-line taken by Derek Riordan, clearance made by Nacho Novo.
89:24 Derek Riordan delivers the ball, Kyle Lafferty manages to make a clearance.
89:01 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Derek Riordan from the right by-line, David Weir makes a clearance.
88:44 Corner taken left-footed by John Rankin.
87:23 Shot on goal comes in from Derek Riordan from the free kick, blocked by Kevin Thomson.
87:23 Booking Sasa Papac is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
87:06 Sasa Papac concedes a free kick for a foul on Abdessalam Benjelloun.
86:05 Shot from just outside the box by Steven Whittaker misses to the right of the target.
84:37 Lee McCulloch fouled by Colin Nish, the ref awards a free kick. Allan McGregor takes the direct free kick.
82:50 Derek Riordan fouled by Kyle Lafferty, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Graeme Smith.
81:42 Centre by Sasa Papac.
80:46 Shot by Maurice Edu. Kevin McBride gets a block in. Corner taken right-footed by Steven Davis, Paul Hanlon manages to make
79:46 Abdessalam Benjelloun is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Allan McGregor.
77:55 The ball is sent over by Nacho Novo, clearance by Ian Murray. Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Steven Davis,
Colin Nish manages to make a clearance.
76:27 Shot from 20 yards by Derek Riordan. Save by Allan McGregor. Corner from the left by-line taken by John Rankin, free kick
awarded for a foul by Abdessalam Benjelloun on Allan McGregor. Free kick taken by Allan McGregor.
75:42 Indirect free kick taken by Graeme Smith.
75:42 Substitution Kenny Miller goes off and Nacho Novo comes on.
75:42 The official flags Kyle Lafferty offside.
Correction - 74:07 Derek Riordan takes a shot. Blocked by Steven Naismith.
74:07 Steven Thicot takes a shot. Steven Naismith gets a block in.
73:34 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Kevin Thomson, Colin Nish manages to make a clearance.
73:12 Steven Davis takes a shot. Paul Hanlon gets a block in.
72:26 Substitution Anthony Stokes goes off and Abdessalam Benjelloun comes on.
68:33 David Weir concedes a free kick for a foul on Colin Nish. Direct free kick taken by Kevin McBride. Paul Hanlon takes a shot
from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
Correction - 67:16 Free kick awarded for a foul by Darren McCormack on Steven Naismith. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Steven Davis.
67:16 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Naismith by Darren McCormack. Steven Davis delivers the ball from the
free kick left-footed from left wing.
66:41 The ball is sent over by Kyle Lafferty, clearance by Kevin McBride.
63:54 Sasa Papac delivers the ball.
62:23 Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee McCulloch on Colin Nish. Derek Riordan shoots direct from the free kick.
61:54 Kenny Miller is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Graeme Smith takes the free kick.
61:07 Steven Naismith takes a shot. Save by Graeme Smith.
60:01 Kyle Lafferty takes a shot. Paul Hanlon gets a block in. Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Kyle Lafferty goes wide
of the left-hand post.
58:03 A cross is delivered by Anthony Stokes, clearance by David Weir.
54:23 Substitution Colin Nish joins the action as a substitute, replacing Patrick Cregg.
54:23 David Wotherspoon has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.
51:20 John Rankin concedes a free kick for a foul on Sasa Papac. Free kick crossed left-footed by Kevin Thomson, Derek Riordan manages
to make a clearance.
49:51 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Lafferty on Darren McCormack. Free kick taken by Darren McCormack. David Wotherspoon
fouled by Sasa Papac, the ref awards a free kick. Kevin McBride takes the free kick.
48:47 Corner taken by Kevin Thomson from the left by-line, Kevin McBride makes a clearance.
47:14 The ball is delivered by Kyle Lafferty, save by Graeme Smith.
45:30 Direct free kick taken by Allan McGregor.
45:30 Booking Anthony Stokes goes into the book.
45:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Anthony Stokes on Kevin Thomson.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:01 Substitution Steven Thicot replaces Chris Hogg.
45:00+1:09 The referee blows for half time.
45:00+0:39 Effort from deep inside the area by Sasa Papac misses to the left of the goal.
42:24 The ball is delivered by John Rankin, Lee McCulloch makes a clearance.
42:18 John Rankin crosses the ball, blocked by Kevin Thomson.
41:00 Steven Whittaker produces a cross, Chris Hogg manages to make a clearance.
39:16 John Rankin takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Paul Hanlon has a headed effort at goal from
close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
Correction - 38:31 The ball is crossed by Kenny Miller, comfortable save by Graeme Smith.
38:31 Kenny Miller delivers the ball, save by Graeme Smith.
37:08 Lee McCulloch fouled by Anthony Stokes, the ref awards a free kick. David Weir takes the direct free kick.
33:19 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ian Murray on Steven Davis. Kevin Thomson produces a cross, David Weir produces a header from
deep inside the six-yard box that clears the crossbar.
32:40 The ball is delivered by Kyle Lafferty, clearance by Paul Hanlon.
31:19 Derek Riordan takes a shot. Blocked by Steven Davis.
30:42 David Wotherspoon delivers the ball, clearance by Lee McCulloch.
28:28 Steven Whittaker challenges Ian Murray unfairly and gives away a free kick. Derek Riordan delivers the ball from the free
kick right-footed from left wing, clearance by Steven Whittaker.
27:38 A cross is delivered by Sasa Papac, save by Graeme Smith.
27:26 Steven Davis delivers the ball, clearance made by Chris Hogg.
25:48 Patrick Cregg gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Naismith. Steven Naismith restarts play with the free
kick. Derek Riordan has a drilled shot. Save by Allan McGregor. The ball is swung over by Darren McCormack.
25:12 The ball is sent over by Darren McCormack, Effort on goal by Derek Riordan from 12 yards. Steven Whittaker gets a block in.
24:30 A cross is delivered by Kyle Lafferty, save by Graeme Smith.
23:45 Graeme Smith restarts play with the free kick.
23:45 Booking Kevin Thomson receives a caution.
23:36 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Graeme Smith by Kevin Thomson.
23:27 The ball is sent over by Kenny Miller.
22:51 Unfair challenge on Derek Riordan by Steven Whittaker results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Derek Riordan, clearance
by David Weir.
21:27 A cross is delivered by Steven Whittaker.
20:34 Unfair challenge on Chris Hogg by Kyle Lafferty results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Chris Hogg.
20:12 Kyle Lafferty gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Paul Hanlon. Free kick taken by Kevin McBride.
19:29 The referee blows for offside. Kevin McBride takes the indirect free kick.
18:40 Steven Naismith concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrick Cregg. Free kick taken by John Rankin.
17:39 Foul by Kevin Thomson on Derek Riordan, free kick awarded. Kevin McBride takes the free kick.
16:35 Maurice Edu provided the assist for the goal.
16:35 GOAL - Kyle Lafferty:Hibernian 0 - 1 Rangers A goal is scored by Kyle Lafferty from inside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Hibernian 0-1 Rangers.
15:34 Shot from deep inside the area by Kenny Miller goes over the bar.
13:22 Foul by Anthony Stokes on David Weir, free kick awarded. Allan McGregor takes the free kick.
Correction - 11:44 Outswinging corner taken by Kevin Thomson, David Weir takes a shot. Blocked by Kenny Miller.
11:44 Corner from the left by-line taken by Kevin Thomson, David Weir takes a shot. David Weir gets a block in.
11:33 Steven Naismith delivers the ball, blocked by Patrick Cregg.
9:53 The referee blows for offside against Anthony Stokes. Free kick taken by Lee McCulloch.
5:47 Centre by John Rankin.
5:21 Corner taken left-footed by John Rankin.
4:51 Steven Whittaker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Derek Riordan. The free kick is swung in right-footed by
Derek Riordan, Steven Whittaker manages to make a clearance.
3:58 Steven Naismith fouled by Kevin McBride, the ref awards a free kick. Kevin Thomson sends in a cross, Headed effort from deep
inside the area by Lee McCulloch misses to the right of the target.
2:19 Kevin Thomson concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrick Cregg. John Rankin produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.
0:48 The ball is swung over by Steven Davis, Close range header by Maurice Edu goes wide of the left-hand post.
0:00 The match gets underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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