Last updated : 25 October 2002 By Grandmaster Suck

Murray 6, O’Connor 72

Townsley og 21, Caniggia 24, Lovenkrands 78

Attendance 8,016

Rangers are through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup following a five-goal thriller in Edinburgh tonight, a 3-2 win over Hibernian ensuring that the defence of the first trophy won under the managership of Alex McLeish continues.

The Ibrox men fielded a much stronger team than had been anticipated with only Craig Moore and Lorenzo Amoruso missing from last Saturday, the central defenders being replaced by Bert Konterman and Bob Malcolm. ‘Amo’s withdrawal was a last-minute one, the Italian injuring a calf muscle during the pre-match warm-up.

On a night of torrential rain, the crowd was less than capacity, no doubt due to the combination of adverse weather conditions and live television, with the home support showing huge gaps in the ‘Famous Five’ Stand.

Hibs started at a furious pace, with Garry O’Connor (linked so often with Rangers) testing Stefan Klos with a second-minute drive that the goalkeeper fisted clear.

The opening goal was delayed a mere three minutes however – O’Connor providing the ammunition with a cross that Ian Murray met with a twenty-yard drive into the roof of the net that left Klos helpless.

Rangers were rocked by that setback, although Ronald De Boer came close to levelling matters in 16 minutes when his shot from an Arthur Numan pass was inches wide.

Hibernian were making the running however with O’Connor prominent in every attack, his pace and power proving a handful for Malcolm and Konterman. The home side were obviously out to take advantage of the potential uncertainty in their opponents’ defence due to the enforced changes.

O’Connor again tested Klos in twenty minutes with a 25-yard shot that the goalkeeper turned wide. Rangers were right up against it, yet the sides were level sixty seconds later when Maurice Ross, freed on the right by a slide-rule pass from Fernando Ricksen, saw his low driven cross diverted into his own net by Derek Townsley.

Astonishingly Rangers, under the cosh for much of this opening quarter, found themselves in the lead three minutes later with Townsley again the culprit, his misplaced pass presenting De Boer with the opportunity to release Claudio Caniggia. The Argentinian cleverly beat the offside trap and deftly chipped Nick Colgan to put the visitors into a scarcely deserved lead.

The game was transformed, and Rangers almost extended their lead in 28 minutes when Ricksen shaved the post from a Numan pass. Hibs’ defender Alen Orman collapsed with no one near him in 32 minutes, obviously in distress. The player appeared to be suffering a seizure, and received immediate medical attention before being stretchered off and replaced by Gary Smith.

The substitute was on the park a mere four minutes before being yellow-carded for a late tackle on Peter Lovenkrands. Smith could consider himself fortunate that the card was not a red one for it was a shocking tackle.

Rangers made an enforced change in 37 minutes when Stephen Hughes replaced Mikel Arteta, but finished the half in control with Barry Ferguson outstanding.

The Easter Road men restarted on the offensive, with Mixu Paatelainen twice causing problems for the makeshift ‘Gers defence in the opening ten minutes, firstly when his header from a Jarkko Wiss free-kick was directed just too close to Klos, then when he should have done better than slice an O’Connor knock-down wide.

Derek Townsley had not had the best of nights. He should have made amends in 58 minutes when a Murray cross presented him with a free header only to direct it wide.

Hibs continued to press with O’Connor a constant menace, and the 19-year-old struck gold in 72 minutes when his twenty-yard drive from a Murray pass found the corner of the net to make the score 2-2.

Rangers almost responded immediately when Ricksen’s drive from a Caniggia cross was just too high, but with extra-time looming a superb goal gave Rangers the lead in 78 minutes when a lightning break saw Claudio’s pass release Lovenkrands whose strike was swift and deadly.

Hibernian were far from finished however – four minutes later Klos had to be alert to deny O’Connor’s drive from a narrow angle.

The game ended in uproar when Caniggia, homing in on goal, was scythed down by Paul Fenwick, then struck with the ball by Gary Smith as he lay on the ground.

Smith received a second yellow and consequent red card, whilst Fenwick received a yellow.

The final whistle signalled Rangers’ progress to the last eight where they will travel again, this time to Dunfermline.

HIBERNIAN Colgan; Orman (Smith 32), Fenwick, Zambernardi; Townsley (McManus 68), Brebner, Wiss, Murray, James; O’Connor, Paatelainen (Luna 81)


RANGERS Klos; Ross, Konterman, Malcolm, Numan; Ricksen, Ferguson, De Boer, Arteta (Hughes 37); Caniggia, Lovenkrands

UNUSED SUBS McGregor, Mols, Muscat, Dodds

REFEREE Hugh Dallas