Hibernian 1 Rangers 1

Last updated : 13 May 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Hibernian put a huge dent in Rangers' title hopes, after a hugely controversial 1-1 draw at Easter Road.

The match started scrappily as the Hibs midfield gave the ball away cheaply on a number of occasions; Chris Hogg got in on the act too, but a last-ditch block from Rob Jones on Kris Boyd spared his blushes.

It was clear that the visitors were missing the industry of the injured Kenny Miller, as the heavy-legged duo of Boyd and Andreas Velicka carried no threat, both had tame efforts that would only hearten watching Celtic fans.

Heartened would hardly describe the emotion felt by the followers from the green and white side of Glasgow as Hibs took the lead minutes before the interval.

After an interchange of passes that looked neat rather than effective, the ball fell to the feet of Derek Riordan, who dug the ball out of his feet to curl a fantastic 20-yard shot into the top corner of the net.

The goal lit up an otherwise poor first period, but a double substitution by Rangers at half-time looked to make for an open second, with Nacho Novo on for the ineffectual Steven Smith and Kyle Lafferty replacing the dire Velicka.

The subs combined in the opening stages of the second half, but Novo could only blast a Lafferty cross over, after finding space in the middle.

Some superb work down the left by Steven Whittaker then set up Novo for another chance, but the Spaniard shot wide when he really should have scored.

Lafferty and Novo, although a lot more involved than those they replaced, were having no better luck, as Lafferty was next to shoot wide when he should have found the target.

It was all Rangers by now, with Steven Davis testing Yves Makalamby from 20 yards, as even at this relatively early stage, the championship favourites were throwing a lot of men forward.

In the 70th minute came perhaps the most controversial decision of the season, and one which will leave many clamouring for a video referee and Rangers' fans crying foul.

After Makalamby fumbled on his line, Lafferty thought he had prodded the ball over the line, as initially did stand-side assistant Martin Cryans. After much discussion and two bookings for dissent, the goal was not given.

After Riordan missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0, the injustice Rangers felt did not stem the unending flow towards the home goal and the inevitable equaliser came with nine minutes left.

Another scramble lead to Hibs calling for a foul on Makalamby that was not given and in the ensuing melee Novo was able to stab home.

The last ten minutes was as frenetic as you will see, but apart from a soft header from Novo, Makalamby was protected by the outstanding Jones as the game finished 1-1.