TEMPERATURES plummeted at Ibrox.
But all that mattered for Rangers was that they ended the night six below.
GettyAlfredo Morelos celebrates his goal[/caption]
ReutersMorelos converts after Tillman (on the ground) had carved open the defence[/caption]
Ryan Porteous scores for Hibs and celebrates
Michael Beale must have worried his side would freeze after twice going behind.
But the new Ibrox boss watched his men turn the heat on Hibs with a heart-warming fightback.
The Hibees went ahead from a Ryan Porteous header with Kevin Nisbet netting on his return from injury after Fashion Sakala had made it 1-1.
But the second-half belonged to Beale’s team with Ryan Jack levelling before Alfredo Morelos’ wonderful winner.
It was must win for Beale and his side with league leaders Celtic in action at the weekend but crucially they got the job done.
Hibs’ form going into his game didn’t cover them in any glory.
Lee Johnson’s side had won just one of their last seven league games with the other six all defeats.
That’s just not good enough for a side with one of the Premiership’s healthiest budgets.
This isn’t a club renowned for being patient with their managers.
Just as Shaun Maloney and Jack Ross, who was at Ibrox last night as a Sky Sports pundit.
Maybe that’s why Johnson mixed things up.
Porteous has made his name as a solid centre-back, even forcing his way into the Scotland national team in that role.
Here he played in midfield.
It was clearly a ploy from Johnson to add to strength and competitiveness into the middle of the park. And initially it worked.
Josh Campbell was another one shifted out of his natural position.
The midfielder, who scored against Rangers at Easter Road earlier this season, was shunted further forward to play off the front.
Fashion Sakala scores for Rangers
He linked up with Nisbet who was back in action for the first time since February, when he suffered a ACL knee injury.
So it wasn’t like this was a Hibs line-up that’s had plenty of game-time together.
It was almost make-shift with Johnson deciding he had to do something to get better results.
Maybe he saw it as a free hit against a Rangers side that was bound to get a new manager bounce.
Whatever it was, Hibs were superb in the first-half and played nothing like a team that’s been toiling.
They took the lead after only eight minutes with Rangers conceding their latest goal from a corner.
A simple ball into the box just wasn’t defended properly with Porteous beating John Lundstram to it to head past Allan McGregor.
The big man they call Porto ran the full length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the away fans.
Rangers fans were stunned and it looked like the team was too.
But in 15 minutes Sakala made it 1-1.
It was a slick move from right to left with Malik Tillman combining with Ryan Kent before Sakala drilled past David Marshall.
At that point the majority of the 50,000 crowd expected Rangers to grab the game by the scruff of the neck there and then.
But Hibs had other ideas.
Virtually straight from kick-off, they went on the attack with Marijan Cabraja playing a ball through for Nisbet who burst into the box.
The striker still had plenty to do to score but smashed a sensational shot high into the net.
Incredibly there were just 53 seconds between the two goals.
Rangers tried to regroup again and Beale’s men had a series of moments when they threatened.
But Hibs were full of confidence themselves and also had chances to add to their lead.
Campbell rattled the side-netting with one shot and then set up Elie Youan with an even better opportunity but aimed his shot straight at the Ibrox No1.
Hibs fans probably spent the half-time break wondering if it would be a moment they’d regret.
Rangers were always going to come out after the interval and throw everything at the Edinburgh side.
The question was whether Johnson’s men would be able to cope.
Given their recent run of results it was always unlikely they’d have what it would take.
Having a goalkeeper of the class of Marshall gave them a fighting chance.
The former Scotland star made an incredible save to keep out a header from Sakala from point blank range after 54 minutes.
In truth the hitman should have burst the net, but credit has to go to the Hibs No1 for refusing to be beaten.
It was coming, though.
Rangers had their tails up again and looking more and more dangerous by the second.
It felt inevitable that they’d get another goal to draw level, and in 58 minutes they did.
James Tavernier played in a corner which was flicked on at the near post by Tillman.
Holding off his marker, Jack was in the perfect position to score to make it 2-2.
Hibs looked spent there and then. They’d put so much into the first-half but their energy levels were drained from their legs.
And there was absolutely nothing they could do to stop Rangers from taking the lead for the first time of the night just four minutes after they’d made it 2-2.
Tavernier played another lovely ball into the box for Tillman and the on-loan Bayern Munich midfielder showed brilliant feet to side-step Paul Hanlon.
The USA man could have been forgiven for shooting on goal but chose the selfless option by cutting the ball back for Morelos.
All the Colombian had to do was hit the target to be the match winner of a fantastic game of football.
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