Lewis Stevenson today admitted Hibs had enjoyed a touch of luck as they claimed their third straight win over Rangers – but insisted it was long overdue.
The little defender clinched the Capital club’s latest victory over their Glasgow rivals, the three points lifting Alan Stubbs’ side above the Ibrox outfit and into second place in the Championship table.
But Stubbs and his players readily conceded they hadn’t been at their free-flowing best, falling well below the performance with which they crushed Rangers at Easter Road only a few weeks ago.
While delighted to claim the win, Stevenson said: “I thought that was the best Rangers have played against us this season. We were maybe a bit lucky to get the win, but there’s been games where we’ve played really well and not won so hopefully that will start to balance itself out over the rest of the season.”
Hibs stopper Liam Fontaine had to head a Kenny Miller shot off his own line and goalkeeper Mark Oxley had tipped another netbound effort from the ex-Easter Road striker over the bar before Scott Robertson knocked home the opener against the run of play. And throughout the second half Stubbs’ side found themselves under increasing pressure as they were pinned down inside their own territory and struggling to break out.
Oxley shovelled a looping header by Sebastian Faure over and Hibs survived a massive shout for a Rangers penalty when the ball struck Robertson’s hand, the Edinburgh side making the most of that escape as Stevenson volleyed home substitute Fraser Fyvie’s pass nine minutes from time for only his fourth goal in 251 appearances in a green jersey.
“It was a great time to get a second goal,” admitted the little defender, “We were under pressure for the whole of the second half, we couldn’t get out and, fair play to Rangers, I thought they were excellent and perhaps a bit unlucky.
“But we put our bodies on the line, defended pretty well and scored from probably our best passing move of the second half. It was a decent move, we worked the ball up the park pretty well and it was a great ball in from Fraser.
“It was perfect for me to hit. I knew there was a defender close to me so I tried to take it as early as possible. It’s always nice to score but I thoroughly enjoyed that one, more than any other.”
Fellow scorer Robertson agreed it was far from a vintage Hibs performance but, having got the win, he is now looking for Hibs to put together a run of results which, hopefully, can turn up the heat, however slightly, on Championship leaders Hearts, a distant 20 points ahead.
The midfielder said: “Rangers deserve a bit of credit for the way they played. They put us under a lot of pressure and we shouldn’t be gloating because it certainly could have been a different outcome.
“Everyone will be talking about us going into second place but we’ve pulled a wee bit further away from Falkirk and kept the gap between us and Queen of the South so they need to catch us up.
“Rangers have games in hand and if they can scrape some points they can go back above us, but we are looking forward to the coming games and putting a good winning run together and hopefully put Hearts under a bit of pressure as well.”