NICK Montgomery blamed missing players and missed chances for Hibernian’s defeat to Rangers at Easter Road tonight in their first cinch Premiership match since the winter break.

The Edinburgh club slumped to a 3-0 defeat to their Glasgow rivals in Leith after conceding goals to Ridvan Yilmaz and Todd Cantwell in the first half and substitute Cyriel Dessers in the second.

However, Montgomery, whose team has now won just one of their last six league games, felt that Elie Youan, Jair Tavares, Emiliano Marcondes and debutant Myziane Maolida could all have scored.

The Englishman also rued the absence of the players who are representing their country at the Asian Cup and the African Cup of Nations as well as those members of his squad who are sidelined by injuries.

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“I thought the second half we came out and had two massive moments,” he said. “Myziane has a chance from six yards and it’s a top save from the goalkeeper. 

“Those are the moments that change games. If that goes in it’s 2-1 the crowd lifts and I’m pretty sure we could have got back into the game. We would have been right in the ascendency. 

 “But the keeper saves that then Emiliano comes on and has a great chance one on one with the keeper again. 

“A great save again and if you don’t take your chances you are going to start chasing the game and you can’t do that against a team like Rangers. 

Montgomery added: “Say what you want but right now we’ve got four players away on international duty and five players out injured. 

“Rangers have one player away on international duty, we have found and five long term injuries. That tells you where we are right now.  

“Paul Hanlon pulled out sick the last couple of days and for me Jordan Obika is one of the best full-backs in the league – but we had to move him to left centre back where he did a really good job.”

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Meanwhile, Philippe Clement has revealed that he took Rangers playmaker Todd Cantwell off against Hibernian as a precautionary measure – and removed Nicolas Raskin from the field at Easter Road because his foot had gone to sleep.

Clement did not appear too concerned about Cantwell, who was bundled into the Hibs technical area by Kanayo Megwa and Elie Youan just before he netted Rangers’ second goal, or Raskin when he spoke to reporters after full-time.   

Asked about Cantwell, Clement said: “It’s too fast to assess that, but it looks okay for the moment and I hope tomorrow also. After that, he made a really good goal, but I didn’t want to take a risk with those things.

“Same with Nico. His foot was slipping. We thought it was because of the tape. We took the tape out and he had the same sensations. He cannot play on one foot. That’s why we made the changes.

“And the two players who came in had directly an impact on the game and that needs to be our strength the next couple of months.

“All the guys who came in had good impact on the game, so that has been our strength the last couple of months that whoever is playing in whatever position, they know what to do, do everything for the team and work hard together. That’s why we are getting much more points.”