Rangers have booked their place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals after a 2-0 victory over Hibernian in a dramatic encounter at Easter Road. Goals in either half from John Lundstram and Fabio Silva put Rangers’ name in the hat for Monday’s last four draw.

Lundstram converted after James Tavernier saw his penalty saved. Hibs had Jordan Obita and Nathan Moriah-Welsh sent off in quick succession before Silva clinched it in the closing stages. All eyes are now on Europa League progression at Ibrox.

Clement’s side show character and quality

This was an evening where physical strength and mental fortitude were as important as technical quality and tactical aptitude. Rangers had to dig deep and somehow find a way to emerge victorious. This was winning in adversity. And it says so much about the job that Clement and his players continue to do to remain competitive on three fronts.

In some senses, the international break cannot come soon enough for a squad that is so depleted. Rangers have work to do before then, though. The return leg against Benfica could be another night to remember under the Ibrox floodlights and a trip to face Dundee next weekend carries it’s own significance as the league leaders look to move another small step towards the title.

Make no mistake, this was a difficult tie against a team that, as Clement stated this week, would have fancied their chances of a place in the last four. To come through it in this manner and in these circumstances speaks volumes for Rangers.

Chris Jack

Rangers make the most of their chances

The VAR check to confirm the penalty call from Steven McLean was always going to be a formality. It was a clear infringement as Dujon Sterling was bundled over in the box. Rangers had worked it well down the right and a Tavernier pass sent Sterling towards goal. Obita had been exposed on the other side by Cyriel Dessers just seconds beforehand and his mind must still have been frazzled as he sent Sterling tumbling.

David Marshall saved well from Tavernier low to his right. He was helpless as Lundstram followed it up, though, and the midfielder beat a couple of defenders to the ball to convert from close range. Rangers had their opener, just not in the manner expected.

The moment that secured the place in the semi-finals came eight minutes from time. Silva collected the ball in the left channel, shifted it onto his right foot and beat Marshall with a low strike at the near post. It was a reward for a tireless shift from the Portuguese.

Chris Jack

Injury crisis deepens

Predicting a Clement starting line-up has been a difficult task over the course of his reign. The Belgian has described his squad selections as a ‘puzzle’ as injuries have taken their toll and he has regularly made a handful of alterations – some of them enforced and some for tactical reasons - from match to match. On paper, there is no ‘best’ Rangers XI.

The team here was unchanged. Those that performed so admirably in Lisbon were asked to go again just hours after a fixture that was mentally and physically draining. Clement has thrown a couple of curveballs over his time, but that was arguably the biggest surprise of all. He stated pre-match that he needed the same players to start but he didn’t expect them to finish this Easter Road encounter.

Unfortunately for Clement, his first change had to come earlier than expected as Sterling was forced off and replaced by Ross McCausland. Clement and the Englishman exchanged words on the touchline before a dejected Sterling received a pat on the head and headed for the changing room.

The withdrawals of Tom Lawrence and Mohamed Diomande – just seconds after he spurned a glorious chance from 12 yards – were wise moves from Clement. Nicolas Raskin and Cole McKinnon were introduced. Both will be required over the next week.

Chris Jack

Clinical edge still lacking

Until the red cards ended the match as a contest, Hibs gave a much better account of themselves compared to when Rangers cantered to three points here in January. Montgomery's side started well, looking to capitalise on any lingering fatigue from Rangers' Europa League endeavours, but it's been a theme in matches against Glasgow's big two that Hibs have not made their big moments count. The home side got into plenty of promising positions throughout this match, creating overloads in wide areas and a number of one-on-ones in the Rangers box, but taking the next step in these encounters only comes with being clinical when it really matters. Hibs have certainly improved since the turn of the year, but they don't quite have that killer instinct to punish teams in relation to how many decent openings they create throughout these matches. Add that to their armoury and it could taken this team to the next level.

Liam Bryce

Horror incident for Boyle

It’s always worrying when any player receives treatment on the pitch for a lengthy period of time before being stretchered off and taken to hospital but when the player has suffered two serious injuries previously in their career, the concern is naturally heightened. At the time of writing, the full extent of Martin Boyle’s injury was unknown but the lack of TV replays told its own story.

It would seem safe to assume that, whatever the prognosis, he won’t be playing football again any time soon - a cruel blow for the player, who had seemed to be getting back to his best, and the team, for whom he is such an important player. His standing in the dressing room is well known and there was a muted feel to the nine minutes of injury time added on at the end of the first period. 

It also seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game, which descended into something resembling a battle rather than a sporting encounter. There had been plenty of needle between the two sides, as there often is, but there was more of an atmosphere in the second 45, which came to a head with Jordan Obita’s dismissal for a second caution and Nathan Moriah-Welsh’s straight red card. 

Even after the two sendings-off, Hibs retained some sense of fight about them, when previously they might have struggled to keep going in the face of adversity and although it counted for little in terms of the result, it was another sign of the incremental progress being made under Nick Montgomery. 

Liam Bryce