Hibs slipped back out of the top six with a 3-1 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox.

James Tavernier fired the home side ahead with a volleyed finish before Myziane Maolida finished off a brilliantly-worked Hibs move to level in first-half stoppage time. It proved short-lived, however, as Cyriel Dessers crashed a header beyond David Marshall moments later, and substitute Rabbi Matondo rifled home a third from distance in the closing stages.

Marshall saved a first-half Tavernier penalty and Scott Wright turned in the rebound, only for VAR to intervene and rule it out for encroachment. The initial penalty award infuriated Hibs, with Nectar Triantis penalised after a VAR review for catching John Souttar with an outstretched arm.

Hibs played some neat football from back to middle to front, at times, but couldn't consistently find the all-important last pass. Elsewhere, a victory for Dundee at St Johnstone drops Montgomery's side back to seventh with two pre-split matches to play.

Patrick McPartlin and Liam Bryce were in Govan to provide instant analysis.

Promising elements, but not enough

Hibs’ form against Rangers in previous matches this season didn’t make for comfortable reading going into this game. Comprehensive 4-0 and 3-0 defeats in the league were followed by the 2-0 Scottish Cup exit that brought with it some improvements, but also two red cards and a lot of chaos. Hibs didn’t start particularly strongly at Ibrox but they didn’t look uncomfortable either. There were some nice passages of play without the end product - something we’ve seen a fair bit of this season - but Rangers also looked uncharacteristically sloppy at times, with Hibs unable to take advantage. 

They rode their luck at times as well, and David Marshall was called into action on a few occasions to keep Hibs in the game. But Myziane Maolida’s equaliser came out of nowhere; the Comoros internationalist starting the move by feeding Élie Youan whose low cross into the box picked out Myziane, who despite seeming to lose control of the ball, recovered to poke the ball beyond Jack Butland. 

Hibs certainly gave a better account of themselves compared to their last visit here but ‘just doing slightly better’ will be scant consolation for Nick Montgomery and his players. Perhaps with more bodies available Hibs might have got more from the game - Martin Boyle was deemed just fit enough for the last 20 minutes while Lewis Miller and Dylan Vente missed out entirely - but there were still promising elements to the performance. Not enough, but some. 

Patrick McPartlin

No margin for error now

There was no overwhelming expectation that, given it's now 10 meetings ago since Hibs beat Rangers, that the visitors would come here and emerge with a shock result. But defeat paired with Dundee beating St Johnstone means the margin for error in pursuit of the top six is now well and truly gone. Dundee have still played a game less than Hibs, albeit that will be against Rangers, and are now in pole position to deny Montgomery's side a place in the top half of the table. It makes Hibs' final two pre-split fixtures against St Johnstone and Motherwell absolute must-wins, and even then it might not be enough. A point here would have been of immense value, and Hibs may wonder what could have been if they had, as Montgomery has pleaded all season, been more clinical when advancing into the final third.

Liam Bryce

A familiar weakness

Two reprieves came Hibs' way in the first-half - one handed to them, one earned, but neither leveraged to their advantage for more than a meagre few minutes.. Having, it looked, fallen behind to Scott Wright's rebound finish after David Marshall saved James Tavernier's penalty, Hibs got off the hook when the goalscorer was penalised for encroachment.  As they tried to recover, Montgomery's side frequently sought to find space behind Rangers' advancing full-backs, and had got into promising areas without an end product before the equaliser did arrive. It had become a question of sharper decision-making when getting into those good areas, and with Myziane's goal they got it just right. Emiliano played a clever pass into Myziane, who released Elie Youan down the left. Some excellent work from the Frenchman returned the ball to his team-mate, and he persisted his way to a prodded finish just when it appeared the chance had gone. But to equalise in the 47th minute and still go in at half-time behind is the sort of thing that stops managers getting anything approaching a good night's sleep. Not being able to see things out at the crucial moments has become a familiar weakness in this side. Generally, holding leads has been problematic, but here it was smply a failure just to shut up shop until half-time. That Dessers' goal ended up being the winner will make it all the more frustrating for manager and players.

Liam Bryce 

Myziane the man


With each passing week it becomes abundantly clear just how key Myziane Maolida is to Hibs, and the crucial role he could play in their final league position. He struck his seventh goal since arriving on loan from Hertha Berlin in January and although he took time to settle into the game, there was always the feeling that, if Hibs were going to produce anything, he would the man responsible. 

It was no coincidence that he linked up with Youan once again, starting and finishing the move. He spoke previously about how observing Ramadan wasn’t affecting his performances and he has largely backed that up on the pitch. 

With two pre-split games remaining, Hibs will need their talisman to be on top form in both matches as they chase that top-six position and potentially more. 

His future remains unclear given his Hertha contract situation and his salary, but there’s no reason why Hibs fans can’t enjoy him while he’s here. 

The main issue now for Montgomery is whether he brings Martin Boyle back into the starting team, or continues with Youan, given the telepathic connection he seems to have with his former France youth colleague. It’s a nice dilemma to have, and there’s no reason why the Hibs boss can’t make use of both players. What there’s no doubt about, however, is Myziane’s importance to this team. 

Patrick McPartlin