THE heavens opened and the rain poured over Ibrox. On the park, Hibernian’s defences were breached on six occasions as Rangers stormed to an emphatic victory.

On a day where the points were what really mattered for Steven Gerrard’s side, the 39-year-old got a superb performance from his side as well. A five minute spell aside, he could scarcely have asked for much more as Rangers maintained their early season momentum in style.

If Hibernian had lost by seven or eight here, Paul Heckingbottom and his players could have had few complaints. Jermain Defoe hit a hat-trick before Alfredo Morelos came off the bench to continue his terrific start to the campaign with a late brace and Sheyi Ojo rounded off the win.

Rangers are still a work in progress this term but ten goals in two Europa League and Premiership wins have given Gerrard plenty of reasons to be positive.

In the aftermath of the win over Midtjylland on Thursday night, Gerrard had called for the Ibrox crowd to do their part in inspiring his side to a crucial Premiership victory. It was the players that lifted the punters here, though.

On a cold and soaking wet afternoon in Govan, Rangers brought a smile to the face of their supporters with a scintillating display. Somehow, the final minutes of the first half went against them and a game that should have been over was bizarrely in the balance, albeit briefly.

Hibernian were out-played and outclassed for long spells. As poor as their performance was, nothing could be taken away from Rangers as they zipped the ball about with pace and precision on a slick surface and created chances seemingly at will.

Rangers were as quick out of the blocks as Gerrard would have demanded and Defoe had them ahead inside ten minutes. Ojo’s shot was parried by Ofir Marciano and Defoe, a surprise starter ahead of Morelos, showed those classic striking instincts to react first and convert from close range.

When he doubled his tally and Rangers’ advantage six minutes later, it looked a case of how many the hosts would win by as Ibrox celebrated a lovely attacking move. Jordan Jones skipped by a couple of forlorn challenges and slipped the ball to Ojo down the left.

He picked out Defoe and there was only ever going to be one outcome as the 36-year-old beat Marciano and put Rangers firmly in control. As Hibernian feared the worst, Gerrard would have been keen to see his side keep their foot to the floor.

Rangers did just that, but the third goal that would have clinched the win didn’t arrive as a handful of scoring opportunities were created and passed up. Somehow, Hibernian survived time and time again.

A Connor Goldson header was well saved by Marciano, but the one the keeper made to palm away a wonderful free-kick from Tavernier was even better as he leapt to his right and got just enough on an effort that was bound for the top corner.

The next stop came from a low strike from Ryan Jack, while Joe Aribo could only find the side netting after he collected a Defoe pass and twisted and turned in the area.

Defoe could have had the hat-trick wrapped up before the break but Marciano denied him with a smart stop after Ojo had set him free into the area, before another effort was just wide of the far post after he turned well and got a shot away.

The home crowd would have been delighted with what they were watching, but the handful of missed opportunities would have been a nagging concern. Those fears would come to the fore just five minutes before the break.

When the third goal of the afternoon arrived, it was the kind of move that Rangers had looked like completing. The finish from Daryl Horgan was emphatic, but it was the through ball from Scott Allan that made it as he split the Gers defence from the middle of the park and gave Hibernian hope where, for long spells, there had been none for boss Heckingbottom.

Few inside Ibrox could have seen that coming. The same can’t be said for the red card that dented Hibs’ chances just ten minutes after the break, though.

Referee John Beaton had flashed a flurry of yellows, some more merited than others, during the first half hour and it seemed inevitable that a sending off would follow. Sean Mackie had collected one for a lunge on Ojo midway through the half, and when he handled a Tavernier  pass right on the edge of the box Hibernian were reduced to ten men.

Rangers still had their advantage on the scoreboard and the task now was to go and extend it. The direction of play was one way once again, but the clinching goal didn’t arrive just yet.

Defoe had two chances as he fired just wide of target from distance and then Marciano denied him from closer range as the keeper continued frustrate Rangers. He made a terrific stop after Ojo cut in from the right and curled one towards target before a similar move ended with another strike being deflected just wide.

Eventually, Rangers’ pressure paid off. The Light Blues had their third and Defoe had his hat-trick as Steven Davis dinked a cross to the back post and the striker nodded home with his final touch before being replaced by Morelos.

The Colombian picked up where his forward partner left off. Paul Hanlon was skipped by with ease as Morelos burst towards goal and his finish inside the near post was emphatic as Rangers’ superiority finally showed. He got his second with a similarly clinical strike.

There was still time for one more as Ojo’s effort was deflected in. Finally, Rangers’ dominance showed on the scoreboard.