Josh Campbell denies nine-man Rangers at the death at Hibernian
Josh Campbell scored a stunning stoppage-time equaliser as Hibernian denied nine-man Rangers victory in a dramatic cinch Premiership showdown at Easter Road.
The Light Blues looked on course to maintain a perfect start to their league campaign as they led 2-1 through goals from James Tavernier and Tom Lawrence.
But red cards for both John Lundstram and substitute Alfredo Morelos left Rangers up against it in the closing 15 minutes and Hibs’ pressure eventually paid off at the death as they secured a 2-2 draw.
Hibs boss Lee Johnson made four changes from the side that started the defeat at Livingston last weekend as Marijan Cabraja, Jair Tavares, Nohan Kenneh and Elias Melkersen dropped out to make way for Campbell, Rocky Bushiri, Martin Boyle and Jake Doyle-Hayes.
Despite having a huge Champions League play-off second leg coming up in the Netherlands on Wednesday, Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst made just two alterations to the side that began the 2-2 draw with PSV Eindhoven in the first match at Ibrox on Tuesday as Steven Davis and Malik Tillman were replaced by Ryan Jack and Rabbi Matondo.
After a fairly even opening to the game, Rangers had the first notable chance in the 22nd minute but Antonio Colak was unable to keep his header down after being picked out on the edge of the six-yard box by a cross from Borna Barisic.
Johnson took a bold call in the 27th minute when he opted to make a double substitution, replacing Ewan Henderson, who had just been booked, and Paul Hanlon with Cabraja and Christian Doidge.
Hanlon did not look happy with the decision as he made his way past Johnson, although the move appeared to be partly tactical as Hibs immediately switched from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3.
Rangers threatened in the 35th minute when Ryan Porteous was loose with a pass, allowing Ryan Kent to break forward with menace but the attacker curled his effort over the bar from the edge of the box.
The visitors started to crank up the pressure towards half-time and Tavernier flashed a half-volley just wide from the edge of the box in the 42nd minute.
Rangers were awarded a penalty in the last minute of the first half when Colak fell in the box after being needlessly tugged by Bushiri while Hibs keeper David Marshall was in the process of clearing a passback.
The hosts furiously protested the decision but Tavernier kept his cool to slot home the spot-kick and give the visitors the lead.
Hibs hit back five minutes after the break when Boyle nipped in between two Rangers defenders to knock the ball home from close range after Elie Youan had run on to a lovely pass from Campbell and sent in a low delivery from the left.
Rangers restored their advantage in the 58th minute when Lawrence powered home a header from a Barisic cross at the end of an excellent flowing attack.
Things started to unravel for the visitors in the 66th minute, however, when Lundstram was shown a red card by referee Willie Collum after he cynically chopped down Boyle from behind while he tried to mount a counter-attack midway inside the Rangers half.
It got worse for last season’s Europa League finalists in the 75th minute when striker Morelos, who had only come off the bench 13 minutes previously, was sent off for swinging an arm in the face of Cabraja.
Hibs laid siege to the Rangers goal thereafter and eventually got their equaliser in stoppage time when Campbell – who scored a late winner in the opening-day win at St Johnstone – volleyed in from the edge of the box.
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