Hibs slumped to a limp defeat on their return to Premiership action as Rangers eased to victory at Easter Road.

Goals from Ridvan Yilmaz, Todd Cantwell, and Cyriel Dessers capped a poor night all around for Nick Montgomery's side, as they failed to seriously trouble their visitors. The manager handed a debut to loan signing Myziane Maolida, while fellow arrivals Emiliano Marcondes and Luke Amos started on the bench.

Kanayo Megwa came in at right-back on his return from loan, while Jordan Obita provided makeshift centre-back cover with Paul Hanlon not making the squad. But despite those fresh faces, it was a familiar story in this fixture, with Hibs' last win over Rangers at Easter Road now coming all the way back in 2015.

Patrick McPartlin, Liam Bryce, and Kieran Auld were in Leith to provide the instant anaylsis.

Too easy for Rangers

Simply put, Hibs were too easy for Rangers to play against here. Philippe Clement’s side didn’t exactly sparkle at Easter Road but, truth be told, they didn’t need to. For a decent chunk of the first-half, Hibs did stop Rangers’ influential players from picking up meaningful space between the lines, but for the opener it was far too simple for Lundstram to step forward from his holding midfield berth and play, admittedly, a very good, incisive pass. For several moments before lashing in the second, Cantwell was able to mill around in space waiting for the pass to come his way, and when did receive there was no one on hand to make it hard for him to get his shot away. The third goal was a real mess from Hibs’ perspective, and David Marshall doesn’t need us to tell him how costly that fluffed clearance was. Fans can accept a side with superior resources sweeping into Easter Road and producing moments of magic, but this wasn’t quite that, even if Rangers do deserve credit for being ruthless. That’s exactly what Hibs were not, wit chances falling the way of Youan and Maolida in the first-half, only for their finishes to be not quite up to the mark. The missed opportunities, though, will be of less concern to Montgomery than his team not making Rangers head down the M8 feeling like they’d just been in a proper contest.

Liam Bryce

Out-of-position Obita impresses

Out of all the potential partners for Will Fish at centre-back, the least likely candidate was probably Jordan Obita. Although he did play there a couple of times for previous club Wycombe, Kanayo Megwa and Lewis Stevenson have both had more game time. Even then, with Stevenson moving to right-back to accommodate Obita for the final 20 minutes of the Scottish Cup tie at Forfar, it would have made more sense to keep Megwa at right-back given the rave reviews he earned at Airdrie on the right of a back four.

But up against Fabio Silva and Todd Cantwell, Obita impressed. Strong in the tackle and adept at reading danger in advance, he popped up on numerous occasions with a timely intervention or clearance and often overlapped down the left in a bid to get the ball up to Dylan Vente.

You could see him organising the defence as well, particularly when Rangers were attacking. His signing has perhaps gone under the radar given the hefty transfer fee paid out for Vente and the arrival of perceived sexier signings such as Dylan Levitt or Adam Le Fondre, but his impact hasn’t, as you might expect from the man who finally dethroned Stevenson from his left-back kingdom.

Hibs are still working on bringing in central defensive cover as a matter of urgency, having already signed Myziane Maolida, Emiliano Marcondes, and Luke Amos this month, but if they don’t have one in by the weekend and Paul Hanlon remains sidelined, you’d imagine Nick Montgomery would be happy enough to ask the 30-year-old to fill in there once more. 

Patrick McPartlin

Promising signs from rusty newbies

Nick Montgomery had teased on Tuesday that one or both of Myziane Maolida and Emiliano Marcondes could start the game despite neither being at peak fitness, and it was probably no surprise to see the Comoros international get the nod over the Bournemouth loanee, given the Dane’s lack of gametime since June last year. Luke Amos, signed just hours before kick-off, was also given a run-out for the final 20 minutes in place of Dylan Levitt, with Marcondes replacing Myziane.  All three players showed in fits and starts why they have been brought in but they also exhibited signs of rustiness. 

Amos struggled a bit with the pace of the game but given his lengthy time on the sidelines that was unsurprising - but there were still glimpses of the bite he could bring to the engine room. Make no mistake though, he will likely take the longest of the trio to get up to speed. Maolida has been playing fourth-tier German football but there was enough in his showing to suggest that with a bit more work on the training ground and greater fitness levels, he could be a real asset.  But it was Marcondes who stood out the most, and he was unlucky to be closed down in the box as he shaped to shoot. Given how impressive he was in his brief cameo, it augurs well for when he is fully up to speed. Even though it was a comprehensive defeat, there were signs of positivity. If Hibs can bring in a centre-back to have a similar effect, it will - on paper at least - have been a good transfer window.

Patrick McPartlin

Midfield battle key

The midfield battle was always going to be key in this tie as Nick Montgomery’s 4-4-2 line-up meant Ranger’s initial midfield three of Raskin, Lundstram and Cantwell were able to find overloads. Due to the extra man in midfield Rangers were able to find themselves on the end of most loose ball in the centre of the park, with Maolida still adapting to Hibs' system a little short of match sharpness. Dylan Levitt did attempt to play the killer pass to help negate the overloaded midfield but on one too many occasions found himself gifting possession to the opposition. The strikers became isolated in this system and there was no clear link between midfield and the final third, barring long balls out to the wide players.#

Rangers ability to cut short any counter attacks via slack passing – which became a recurring theme -  were then able to find huge pockets of space to move into and leave themselves in a vulnerable position. The introduction of Emiliano Marcondes provided a channel for possession to go through but a lack of support meant the while the Dane's impact was promising, he didn't quitehave enough around him.. His presence did allow for more periods of sustained possession but Hib were unable to seriously trouble Rangers. Flashes of individual moments of class came too little and too late in what was an evening to forget for Hibs.

Kieran Auld

Megwa’s return chance

It was a mixed evening for Kanayo Megwa on his return from a loan at Championship side Airdrieonians. The 19-year-old has won rave reviews for his performances in the second tier, with Diamonds boss Rhys McCabe going as far as declaring he could become one of the best right-backs in the country. Glowing recommendations and a ‘will they, won’t they’ in terms of Hibs decision to cast an eye over the teenager in Dubai before deciding whether to recall him placed a fair amount of attention him. And he was certainly under the microscope with a testing return to the team in a hugely difficult fixture. There did appear to be a touch of trepidation in Megwa early on, and he looked understandably wary of the Rabbi Matondo’s searing pace burning him down the Rangers left. Neither he nor Elie Youan tracked the run of Yilmaz for the opening goal, and there seems to have been a breakdown in communication, with Megwa done no favours by his winger trying to pass the Rangers defender on. The young defender grew into the game, though, and made some vital interceptions while also producing an excellent through ball for Youan to charge onto, and Maolida really should have scored from the cutback. It’s about as testing a top-flight assignment as a young player can face, and one Megwa will take a great deal from. Patience is essential.

Liam Bryce