Rangers 2-2 Hibs, August 18, 2001
Alex McLEISH brought his Hibs side to Ibrox intent on having a go with a confident attitude which is rarely seen by most sides who foray past the M8, heading for either Ibrox or Parkhead with a mindset of damage limitation clouding their heads.
McLeish’s side certainly ruffled a few feathers in Govan as they produced the goods to snatch a draw from the devil’s mouth.
Lorenzon Amoruso whacked Grant Brebner full on the visage with one of his trademark thumping free-kicks at Ibrox, knocking him out cold. By the end of an encounter as raucous as a Saturday night on the town, the sore faces were all being worn by those adorned in blue inside Ibrox.
From the off, both teams threw themselves around the Ibrox turf and into choice challenges with the gusto of prize-fighters seeking a first-round knock-out. Each looked capable of inflicting early damage on the other because, defensively, all too often they played with their guard down.
Dane Ulrich Laursen enjoyed a superb term at wing-back for Hibs the previous season but does not appear nearly as comfortable pressed into action as one of a three-man backline. His finishing was never a strong point and the player featured in the early action in ways in which he would take no pride.
In the eighth minute, a Tom McManus square-pass across the Rangers penalty area left Laursen with the goal at his mercy, only for the Dane to suffer the procrastination of his Shakespearian countryman and stab an effort straight at Stefan Klos.
Laursen was then dozy at the other end seconds later. Amoruso marauded upfield, slaloming past green jerseys as if they were cones on a training field before the ball broke towards goal.
Hibs’ Danish defender lost Michael Mols on his blind-side, only for the striker to sidefoot wide of the far upright.
Rangers were no more secure when Hibs took to throwing high balls into their box ball, alarming gaps opening up for McManus and Craig Brewster, who combined to give the visitors the lead in the 18th minute. Franck Sauzee launched a free-kick from deep that seemed to be met by the light-blue jerseys in the box with shut eyes, which allowed Brewster to slip the ball in to the path of McManus, who lashed a low drive beyond Klos from 14 yards.
The frenetic tempo induced a looseness in the play that merely added to the spectacle, Rangers snapping at a Hibs side who never gave the impression that they could defend their slender advantage without mishap. This befell them when an equaliser for Dick Advocaat arrived in slightly fortuitous fashion. Stephen Hughes’ strike from 25 yards had plenty of oomph and was certainly travelling goalwards, but, by the time it reached the net, it had also had its trajectory changed as the result of hitting Mathias Jack’s back.
Diving in to the fray with all limbs pumping continued to make the encounter an explosive one after the interval, Hibs recovered from going 2-1 behind when, in the 58th minute, Alen Orman produced a reeker of a 30-yard drive that ripped in to the top corner.
The Ibrox men had taken the lead 10 minutes earlier with a counter that might not have been as spectacular but demonstrated that Tore Andre Flo could produce those instinctive moments that make good goalscorers.