Boyd Strike Breaks Deadlock - Rangers 1-0 Hibernian
Manager Walter Smith made one change from Tannadice with Kyle Lafferty replacing Lee McCulloch. To general astonishment, goalkeeper Allan McGregor retained his place - although as events would transpire he would have precious little to do.
Boyd should have opened the scoring as early as the third minute when he was clean through on a Pedro Mendes pass only to see his shot come back off the legs of visiting goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay.
Seven minutes later Kirk Broadfoot's header from a Steve Davis corner was held by the goalkeeper.
It was all Rangers with the visitors scarcely crossing the halfway line - and Ma-Kalambay would twice deny Pedro Mendes, firstly in twelve minutes when he parried a thirty-yarder, then seven minutes later touching over a curling 25-yard shot from a Davis pass.
Kenny Miller attempted to divert a Lafferty cross goalwards in 22 minutes - but his effort was too high as the Hibs goalkeeper began to make a fine art of time-wasting even this early in the game. On one occasion he made something of a spectacle of changing his boots and readjusting his gloves.
The 49,538 crowd were becoming somewhat frustrated as time wore on without any sign of a breakthrough - too many high balls were being crossed into the goalmouth to no avail although Boyd did come close with a 36th minute header from a Davis cross that was just wide.
The half ended goalless - but Rangers had a strong penalty claim in 47 minutes when David Weir's header from a Davis corner struck a defender's hand. only for the referee to turn a blind eye - but as the official was none other than Steve Conroy the decision should have been no surprise.
The deadlock was finally broken on the hour when another Davis corner was headed on by Broadfoot to Boyd who found the net with an overhead kick.
Six minutes later Rob Jones twice impeded Boyd off the ball - but again Steve Conroy took no action.
Nacho Novo replaced Miller in 72 minutes - and two minutes later the Easter Road men had their only effort on target of the entire afternoon when Steven Fletcher's header from Alan O'Brien's cross was held by McGregor.
Mendes almost brought the house down in eighty minutes when, with Ma-Kalambay out of his goal, he saw his chip from fully 45 yards come back off the crossbar.
Two minutes later Boyd's header from a Mendes free-kick was just too high - but Rangers played out time comfortable with their narrow lead.
Afterwards Walter Smith summarised:
"I was pleased to win in what was a difficult ninety minutes. Hibs set out their stall to defend and did so well."
RANGERS McGregor; Whittaker, Weir, Broadfoot, Papac; Davis, Mendes, Ferguson, Lafferty; Boyd, Miller (Novo 72)
UNUSED SUBS Dailly, Alexander, McCulloch, Beasley, Aaron, Fleck
HIBERNIAN Ma-Kalambay; Van Zanten, Hogg, Jones, Murray; Rankin, Thicot (Yantorno 72), Bamba, O'Brien; Fletcher, Nish (Pinau 50)
UNUSED SUBS Chisholm, McNeil, Keenan, Stevenson, Campbell
REFEREE Steve Conroy