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Hibernian snatch draw as Rangers’ clean sheet streak ends

Hibernian v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Easter Road
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Hibernian shattered Rangers’ shut-out streak as Steven Gerrard’s team let two points slip with a 2-2 draw in Leith.

Gers arrived in the capital having started the season with a British-record seven straight clean sheets.

But Drey Wright – in for on-loan Gers winger Jamie Murphy – became the first player to score a league goal against the Light Blues this season as he swept Hibs ahead.

Rangers hit back with strikes from Alfredo Morelos and Scott Arfield but they were denied victory by a Christian Doidge header.

Gerrard’s men go back to the top of the table by a point but, having played a game more than Celtic, will worry they have handed the title initiative to Neil Lennon’s champions.

Hibs have now gone nine games without a win against Rangers but do hold on to third spot.

Morelos was back in the Rangers starting line-up for first time in over a month, with Kemar Roofe out after straining a calf against Lincoln Red Imps in midweek.

The Colombian has bucked up his ideas after being reprimanded by Gerrard for his lack of focus amid continuing speculation over his future.

But he was guilty of taking his eye off the ball for a split second 10 minutes in as he wasted a glorious chance to head Gers in front from a James Tavernier corner.

Tavernier was involved again three minutes later as he twisted past Josh Doig before finding Ianis Hagi in the box. The Romanian cut back for Arfield but Paul McGinn was ideally placed to provide an important block.

The visitors allowed their early tempo to drop off, however, and Hibs were quick to exploit it.

Kevin Nisbet fired a warning strike as he brought out a finger-tip save from Jon McLaughlin – but there was no rescuing Rangers as their run of blanks was finally ended on 22 minutes.

Paul Hanlon’s cross-field ball was flicked on by Nisbet out to Boyle. The winger took a heavy touch but was still able to squeeze a low ball past the hesitant Borna Barisic, with Wright timing his run perfectly to slot under McLaughlin.

Gers were now in a position they had not found themselves in since March, when David Moyo struck a shock winner for Hamilton, and it took them time to gather their senses after conceding for the first time in 776 domestic minutes.

Morelos and Hagi had theirs scrambled further when Ryan Porteous – off the ball – and Hanlon clattered into the Rangers duo to earn bookings.

But in first-half stoppage time the Ibrox side levelled. Kent and Davis worked a one-two round young left-back Doig before Kent clipped to the back post for Morelos to slam home.

And they were ahead 12 minutes into the second half.

Tavernier fired in a dangerous pass to find Arfield on the edge of the box. The Canada international exchanged a quick-fire combination with Hagi before squirming a shot past Ofir Marciano from 15 yards.

The Israeli did better moments later as Hagi measured a beauty of a pass for Kent, throwing out an arm to deny the £7million man.

Gers were dominating the ball but always looked vulnerable on the break.

They had hearts in mouths as Nisbet came close to turning in a rebound after Porteous had tested McLaughlin.

But the warning did not get through and Hibs levelled with 19 minutes left. Boyle was offside as he collected the ball in the Gers box but when the flag stayed down, he whipped in a sublime cross for Doidge to thud home.

Arfield thought he had grabbed a late winner, only to be thwarted by Marciano’s breathtaking double save.