JAMES Tavernier opened his account for Rangers on his debut against Hibernian at Easter Road way back in 2015 when he netted a stunning long-range free-kick in an epic 6-2 Challenge Cup triumph.

Fast forward eight years and 399 games and nothing has changed.

The right back made his 400th appearance for the Glasgow giants in Leith today and marked the occasion by breaking the deadlock in the first-half with a typically spectacular dead ball strike.

He stepped forward after referee Alan Muir ruled that CJ Egan-Riley had fouled Todd Cantwell just outside the Hibs penalty box and rifled beyond David Marshall and into the top left corner.

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Former Scotland internationalist Marshall could and should have done far better. Still, there could be no denying the quality of the shot that beat him.

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Tavernier’s opening goal set the visitors, playing for the first time since their 3-0 triumph over Scottish champions Celtic at Ibrox last Saturday, on their way to a comfortable 3-1 win.

Ianis Hagi, who came in for Rabbi Matondo on the left of the front three , added a second 10 minutes after half-time and Cantwell pounced four minutes before the end of regulation time after Marshall had denied Tavernier. Paul Hanlon claimed a consolation goal for the hosts in injury-time.

So what did the performance and result tell us about Michael Beale’s team? And what does it mean for Lee Johnson’s side? Here are five talking points from the capital encounter.


The Romanian playmaker enjoyed the goal he scored in front of the travelling support and then some. He dropped to his knees and was mobbed by his team mates after beating Marshall at the second attempt. He then gave a theatrical bow before returning to his own half to resume play.

His emotion was understandable. It was the first time he had found the target since returning from a year on the sidelines in January. It was another significant step in the right direction for the 24-year-old. He must now build on his bright display and show he has put his knee issue firmly behind him.


Hibs can potentially still come third in the Premiership despite this painful reverse; they are six points behind Aberdeen and four adrift of Hearts in the table entering the final week.  

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But with their two remaining league fixtures coming against Celtic at home on Wednesday night and their city rivals at Tynecastle on Saturday, they have their work cut out finishing as the best of the rest in the top flight.

If they do come up short, or even fail to secure fourth and a European spot, then Josh Campbell will rue the sitter that he missed just before half-time.

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The midfielder fired wide from just a yard or two out after being supplied by Kevin Nisbet. The opportunity appeared harder to miss than it was to score. If it had gone in then outcome of the game could have been rather different.

But that was very much the story of Hibs’ afternoon. They competed well for long periods and put Rangers keeper Robby McCrorie and his defence under sustained pressure at times. But they lacked a final product in front of goal. Nisbet, who headed inches wide and struck the post, was culpable too.  


Opportunity knocked for Leon King today after Connor Goldson was ruled out by the foot injury he picked up at the end of the Celtic victory last weekend.

King had not featured since coming on as a late substitute in the 5-2 triumph over St Mirren at Ibrox last month and had not started since the 1-1 draw with the same opponents in Paisley back in November.

The teenage centre half was stretchered off in the second-half of that outing – which turned out to be Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s last in charge - after suffering a concussion and admitted afterwards he could remember nothing about the match. Could his appearance today be more memorable?

The 2022/23 campaign has been a difficult one for the promising young defender. He has certainly had plenty of first team game time in the first four months. But he was helpless to prevent his team from suffering some heavy defeats in the Champions League or falling behind Celtic in the Premiership.

Having only turned 19 in January, he will have learned much from the experiences, both good and bad, he has had. But could he help to keep Elie Youan, Campbell and Nisbet at bay and show Beale what he has to offer.

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He intercepted a Chris Cadden cross into his area early on and did well thereafter. The run out will do wonders for his confidence after so long on the periphery.  


John Souttar has shown why Van Bronckhorst was so keen to secure his services last summer with his assured performances at the back of late and his fine run of form continued in the capital this afternoon.

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He should, regardless of who arrives in Govan in the coming weeks, be one of the first names down on the team sheet when next term gets underway.

But Goldson being ruled out for 10 weeks is certainly a blow. Will the vice-captain be available for the Champions League qualifiers in August? His recovery will have to go well if he is to feature.

Nico Raskin, the Belgian midfielder who was once again outstanding in the centre of the park, was replaced by Scott Arfield in the second-half as a precautionary measure after sustaining a blow to his leg.  


This was not McCrorie’s best game for Rangers. His positioning was suspect on occasion and he was guilty of flapping at high balls into his area. Still, the 25-year-old goalkeeper did well enough and certainly played his part in another victory. His one-handed save from Harry McKirdy in injury-time was sensational.  

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The former Berwick Rangers and Livingston loanee, though, let in his first goal for the Ibrox club from the resultant corner. He was unable to keep a Paul Hanlon header out of his net. It was the first time in five appearances that he had conceded.

He has shown his manager he deserves a chance next season no matter who arrives in Govan this summer.