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Rangers beat 10-man Hibernian to regain pole position

Celtic v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Alfredo Morelos’ second-half header gave Rangers a comeback 2-1 win over 10-man Hibernian to return the champions to the top of the cinch Premiership.

Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet headed Hibs ahead at Ibrox in the eighth minute before Easter Road centre-back Ryan Porteous was shown a straight red card by referee Nick Walsh on the half-hour mark for a challenge on Joe Aribo.

Jack Ross’ side withstood increasing pressure from Rangers until the 59th minute, when substitute Kemar Roofe levelled with a header before Morelos grabbed a dramatic winner with 11 minutes remaining.

It was Hibs’ first league defeat of the season as Rangers moved one point ahead of Hearts as domestic football stops for the international break.

Gers manager Steven Gerrard shook his line-up after the midweek defeat to Sparta Prague in the Europa League with six changes.

Defender Connor Goldson returned from a knock to take over the captaincy from James Tavernier, who was replaced by Nathan Patterson at right-back.

John Lundstram, Ianis Hagi, Scott Wright and Morelos also returned on Armed Forces Day at Ibrox, where members of the Army, Royal Navy and RAF were in attendance.

Jake Doyle-Hayes replaced injured Kyle Magennis in the midfield for Hibs, who started with the assurance of a side yet to lose a league match – and they took an early lead.

It was a simple enough goal coming when midfielder Chris Cadden’s deep cross from the right was headed past keeper Allan McGregor from 12 yards by Nisbet, who got away from Lundstram – although there were no Hibs fans inside the stadium to celebrate.

Proceedings, however, took a turn when Porteous was dismissed for flying into a challenge on Aribo.

Hibs midfielder Scott Allan was sacrificed for former Gers defender Darren McGregor, after Ibrox stopper Leon Balogun had screwed a shot wide of the post.

Rangers forced the issue just before the break and immediately afterwards but Hibs defended resolutely.

That was, until Roofe replaced Glen Kamara in the 54th minute because five minutes later he had the home side level when he headed in Patterson’s looping cross from the right.

The home side kept up the pressure and in the 73rd minute Matt Macey made a great save from Hagi’s drive from the edge of the box.

However, the Hibs keeper had no chance when Borna Barisic’s deep cross found Morelos, who headed in off the post.

Ibrox exploded in as much relief as joy, with the home side remaining mostly on top until the nervy final minutes when Hibs went all out, unsuccessfully, for an equaliser.