Hibs v Rangers: Match preview and probable line-ups

Hibs host Rangers at Easter Road tonight knowing a win would take them level on points with the Ibrox side in the Scottish Premiership table.

Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 12:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 12:38 pm
Vykintas Slivka scored the winner the last time the sides met at Ibrox in August. Picture: SNS Group

Hibs go into the game on the back of a decent result against Celtic, after running Brendan Rodgers’ side close and coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2.

But the Gers are also on a good run of form, having won their last three consecutive matches, as interim boss Graeme Murty managed what Pedro Caixinha couldn’t during his tenure at Ibrox.

The last five matches between these two sides have thrown up 24 goals, with the aggregate score Hibs 13-11 Rangers.

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However, Neil Lennon will be without the services of David Gray and Steven Whittaker, the defensive duo struggling with a knee injury and pelvic injury respectively.

Liam Fontaine is nearing a return to full fitness - and by his own admission is ready for a return - but is unlikely to be included in the matchday squad.

Brandon Barker should be fit to start despite leaving the action early on Sunday after picking up a knock.

The absence of both Gray and Whittaker means Lennon could opt to play a flat back four with Efe Ambrose filling in at right back, but is more likely to go with three central defenders and two wing backs.

Ross McCrorie is a doubt for Rangers. The youngster has thrived at the base of the midfield four in the recently-adopted diamond formation but if he misses out, Murty may be forced to resort to a flat 4-4-2 with Josh Windass moving to left wing and Alfredo Morelos starting up top alongside Kenny Miller.

Carlos Pena could start on the bench with Jason Holt lining up alongside Jamie Barjonas in the middle of the park, given Rangers’ lack of available central midfielders.

Ryan Jack is serving the second of his three-game suspension following his sending-off against Aberdeen, while Graham Dorrans is still out injured with a knee complaint.

Back-up goalie Jak Alnwick is out with an ankle injury so Under-20s ‘keeper Liam Kelly will take a seat on the bench.

Last five meetings: Rangers 2-3 Hibs; Rangers 2-3 Hibs; Hibs 3-2 Rangers; Rangers 4-2 Hibs; Hibs 2-1 Rangers.

Likely Hibs team: (3-5-2): Marciano; Ambrose, McGregor, Hanlon; Boyle, McGinn, Bartley, McGeouch, Stevenson; Stokes, Shaw. Subs from: Dabrowski, Porteous, Slivka, F Murray, Barker, Swanson, S Murray, Matulevicius.

Likely Rangers team (4-4-2): Foderingham; Tavernier, Alves, Wilson, John; Candeias, Barjonas, Holt, Windass; Miller, Morelos. Subs from: Kelly, Hodson, Bates, Cardoso, Krancjar, Dalcio, Nemane, Burt, Atakayi, Pena, Herrera, Hardie.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Kick-off: 7.45pm

Odds: Hibs 21/20 Draw 12/5 Rangers 29/20 (Odds correct at the time of writing)