Hibs v Rangers preview: Boyle back? | Same formation? | Old Firm double?
Hibs host Rangers in tonight's televised Ladbrokes Premiership match at Easter Road just four days after seeing off the visitors' Old Firm rivals Celtic.
The Light Blues also won on Sunday – a 1-0 win over Hamilton at Ibrox – so both sides come into this match on the back of home wins and clean sheets.
Ofir Marciano is likely to continue in goals after posting two shut-outs since coming back into the starting line-up. Neil Lennon is unlikely to change a winning side too much, with a midfield swap – Mark Milligan for the doubtful Vykintas Slivka – the only probable change in the Hibs starting line-up.
Youngster Sean Mackie impressed in the second half against Celtic, registering an assist for Florian Kamberi’s strike and the former Raith Rovers kid is likely to find himself among the substitutes again.
Mackie’s academy colleagues, forwards Lewis Allan and Jamie Gullan, are also likely to retain their seats on the bench.
For Rangers, the return of Alfredo Morelos will be a boost. The Colombian striker has served a suspension and will return to lead the line, with Kyle Lafferty almost certainly making way for his strike colleague.
Elsewhere in Steven Gerrard’s team, Lassana Coulibaly could come back in for Ross McCrorie in midfield, while the former Liverpool captain could call on Glenn Middleton and youngster Andy Dallas from the bench.
Injuries / suspensions / unavailable
Hibs: Goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw is still recovering from a thigh tear, while winger Thomas Agyepong (thigh), midfielder Marvin Bartley (hamstring), right-back David Gray (muscle), centre-half Paul Hanlon (leg) and wing-back Charalampos Mavrias (hamstring) remain sidelined. Midfielder Vykintas Slivka was forced off at half-time against Celtic with an ankle injury and the Lithuanian could miss the visit of Rangers.
Rangers: Long-term injury victim Graham Dorrans is closing in on a return to action, but this match comes too soon for the midfielder. He is joined on the sidelines by wide pair Ryan Kent (hamstring) and Jamie Murphy (knee).
Hibs (4-1-2-1-2): Marciano, Whittaker, Ambrose, Porteous, Stevenson; Mallan, Milligan, Hyndman, Horgan; Kamberi, Shaw. Subs from: Bogdan, D McGregor, Nelom, Mackie, Stirling, Slivka, Boyle, Maclaren, Gullan, Allan.
Rangers (4-1-4-1): A McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, McAuley, Barisic, Coulibaly, Candeias, Arfield, Jack, Grezda, Morelos. Subs from: Foderingham, Flanagan, Halliday, Katic, Worrall, McCrorie, Middleton, Lafferty, Dallas.
Magic number - 29
The number of goals scored in the last five games between the two clubs at Easter Road.
Lewis Stevenson did extremely well to shackle Celtic’s James Forrest on Sunday and prevent the Scotland international from stamping his authority on the game. The left-back will have to be similarly diligent when facing Rangers winger Daniel Candeias.
Rangers have only won twice on league duty at Easter Road in the last six years – 2-1 last season and 2-0 in March 2015. They’ve also have an identical record to Hibs over their last six games – two wins, two draws and two defeats. Mark Milligan has picked up five yellow cards and tops Hibs’ disciplinary table but Alfredo Morelos, who tops Rangers’ list, has accumulated seven yellow and two red cards, putting him on twice as many disciplinary points as the Australian.
Craig Thomson is the man in the middle for this match. The veteran whistler has refereed 42 Hibs games, with the Easter Road side winning just 13 of those matches, with six draws and 23 losses.
In those matches he has booked 88 players and sent off four, awarding five penalties.
Thomson has taken charge of 54 Rangers fixtures. Of that number the Light Blues have won 29, drawn ten and lost 15 with 91 yellow cards, seven reds and seven penalties.
He will be assisted by Frank Connor and Michael Banks, with Alan Newlands on fourth-official duties.