Kenny Miller put Rangers back on top of the Scottish Premier League as his double strike clinched a 3-0 victory at Hibernian on Sunday.
Miller, a former Hibernian player, struck twice from Kirk Broadfoot assists before half-time at Easter Road and Madjid Bougherra’s first goal in Scottish football rounded off a convincing display from Walter Smith’s side.
After Celtic’s late comeback against Aberdeen on Saturday, Rangers needed a win to pull clear of their Glasgow rivals and they responded in style.
“Our confidence took a dunk at the very start of the season but we picked up a bit again,” Smith said.
“Overall, we’re gaining in confidence but we’ve still got a few hurdles.”
Hibs boss Mixu Paatelainen was furious with his team’s sloppy start.
“We never started our passing from the first minute,” he said. “It was really, really poor, giving the ball away far too easily.
“Defensively we were all over the place. We then got three fantastic opportunities to score a goal and take the lead.
“We didn’t take those chances and they punished us. Again, we were on the back foot, we were on our heels, not on our toes and sharp. Sharp strikers like Kenny Miller, they punish you.”
The only downside to the day for Rangers was the inflamatory chants from Rangers fans, who sung the so-called ‘Famine Song’, which Celtic chairman John Reid had earlier in the day described as “racist and deeply offensive”.
Miller proved a handful from the start as Rangers dominated the early stages and he shot just wide from 20 yards after Chris Hogg had gifted possession to Jean Claude Darcheville.
Rangers were cut open in the 14th minute when Derek Riordan fed Dean Shiels in the right channel, and the visitors needed Neil Alexander to stand up and block a powerful shot.
Rangers were still edging possession but were being forced to shoot from long range, and efforts by Adam and Darcheville were well off target.
Hibs again came close in the 31st minute when Kevin Thomson nodded Souleymane Bamba’s header off the line after Riordan’s corner.
But Rangers went in front seconds later when Miller broke away from the static home defence to glance a diving header into the far corner following Kirk Broadfoot’s right-wing cross.
Steven Fletcher fired wide off the head of David Weir after a good run and Hibs came even closer as they kept the pressure on from the subsequent corner.
Riordan chased a hopeful ball and volleyed across the six-yard box where Ian Murray raced in to stab against the post.
However, Miller scored again in the 40th minute thanks to another assist from Broadfoot.
The former Hibernian striker ran on to the full-back’s clever reverse pass and curled a left-footed shot into the far corner from 20 yards.
Rangers killed the game off in the 73rd minute when Bougherra bundled home Thomson’s near-post free-kick from six yards.
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