Three things we learned from Rangers 1-1 Hibs
Here are three Hibs-related observations from the 1-1 draw at Ibrox.
Hanlon return gives Hibs defence extra assurance
Paul Hanlon clearly wasn’t 100 per cent when he returned to the side temporarily for back-to-back matches against Dundee and Kilmarnock around a month ago. After missing the subsequent four games, it was a surprise to see him back in the line-up and leading the team out at Ibrox. The long-serving centre-back was superb, though, underlining the influence he can have on Hibs’ defence when fully fit. For all the various qualities Darren McGregor, Ryan Porteous and Efe Ambrose offer, Hanlon is the one that brings genuine security and leadership to Hibs’ central defence. Neil Lennon will be hoping he can eke one final performance out of his defensive linchpin before allowing him the winter break to get himself into peak condition after an injury-disrupted start to the campaign.
Kamberi bounces back
Given Lennon’s criticism of Florian Kamberi after he missed a penalty in Saturday’s draw with Livingston, it wouldn’t have been a huge surprise if the Swiss started on the bench again at Ibrox. The manager revealed afterwards that he had “a long chat” with Kamberi in order to get more output from his main striker, and it certainly seemed to have an impact. The 23-year-old looked hungry from the outset and made life difficult for the Rangers defence. Although not everything came off for him, he certainly couldn’t have his approach faulted on this occasion.
The injuries keep on coming
It summed up Hibs’ season in terms of injuries that just as two of their most influential defenders were returning from lengthy injuries, they had to contend with losing another two. Neil Lennon would love the luxury of having all of his defenders available at once but just as that scenario looked to be coming to fruition, with key duo David Gray and Paul Hanlon coming back into contention, Ryan Porteous suffered an injury in the draw with Livingston that ruled him out of the trip to Ibrox. Then Lewis Stevenson suffered a hamstring injury just before the break against Rangers that looks certain to keep him out of Saturday’s Edinburgh derby. The manager will be hoping the winter break allows all the niggling injuries within his squad to clear up once and for all so he can get some harmony in his backline.