Hibs clocked up their first home win over Rangers since 2006 as they took the troubled Ibrox outfit apart on an afternoon to remember at Easter Road.
David Gray and Jason Cummings had the Ednburgh club two up within 12 minutes with Scott Robertson and Liam Craig adding another couple after the interval to leave the jubilant home fans singing “this is so easy.”
And so it was as Hibs slashed the gap between themselves and second placed Rangers to four points as they notched up a third consecutive Championship win, a result whih, no doubt, was greeted with just as much joy by Capital rivals and title favourites Hearts ahead of their own match with Livingston.
Both Hibs and Rangers were unchanged, Easter Road boss Alan Stubbs naming the same side for the third game running while interim Ibrox manager Kenny McDowall went with the team that defeated Livingston.
Hibs got off to a dream start with two goals in the opening 12 minutes, both coming from the players who had sunk Rangers at Ibrox in September, Gray and Cummings.
The Easter Road side’s opener came in the eighth minute, Liam Craig’s cross from the left catching the head of Lee McCulloch before falling at the feet of Gray. The right back resisted the temptation strike first time, steadying himself and then hammering home a rocket shot which exploded into the net high beyond the stranded Steve Simonsen.
Four minutes later and Hibs were two to the good, the home side working the ball from left to right for Scott Allan to deliver a deep cross which saw Craig beyond the back post turn it across the face of goal for Cummings to bundle home from no more than a yard out.
Hibs might have added to their tally as Rangers looked shell-schocked, Gray drilling a low ball across goal which found no takers before Simonsen couldn’t hold Cummings’ shot, Robertson following up only managing to screw his effort wide.
Three corners in quick succession offered the ibrox side some repsite but they were unable to capitalise, the only support from their fans at the opposite end coming with a refrain of “sack the board.”
Unsurprisingly, Rangers turned to Kris Boyd after the interval and the Ibrox side immediately began putting themselves about, first half substitute Kyle Hutton - who’d replaced the booked Ian Black - spoken to by referee Bobby Madden for a foul on Scott Allan before Boyd himself was warned for illegal challenges on the midfielder and Danny Handling in the space of seconds.
There was a definite edge to Rangers which had been missing in the opening 45 minutes and Liam Fontaine had to throw himself into the path of a Nicky Law shot with Gray doing likewise as the midfielder latched onto the rebound.
A deflected Law shot fell for Boyd but he scuffed it wide, much to the derision of the home support but Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs would be well aware of allowing the Ibrox side to build up too much of a head of steam as they were threatening to do.
But Hibs took the wind out of Rangers sails with another great goal in the 63rd minute, Robertson driving onto a loose ball before laying it inside to Allan. The midfielder shaped to go right but played a perfect reverse pass into his team-mate’s path, leaving him to calmly place it beyond - cue a mass exit from those in the away end.
Handling had the chance to make it four from Lewis Stevenson’s drilled cross only to drag his shot wide.
But skipper Craig did with yet another fantastic strike in the 70th minute. Again Allan was the driving force, charging forward before clipping an inviting cross for his team-mate who met it on the volley with his right foot to send it in low at the far post with Simonsen again no more than a spectator.
Hibs: Oxley, Gray (Booth 74), Hanlon, Fontaine, Stevenson, S Allan, Robertson, Craig, Handling Kennedy 87), Cummings (Stanton 87), Malonga.
Substitutes not used: Perntreou, Harris, Stanton, Heffernan, Jake Sinclair, Kennedy.
Rangers: Simonsen, Foster, McGregor, McCulloch, Wallace, Aird (Boyd 46), Black (Hutton 34), Law, Smith, Clark, Miller (Shiels 83).
Substitutes not used: Robinson, Mohsni, Daly, Foure, Shiels.
Referee: Bobby Madden.