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Glass bottle hurled at Gers' Barisic on a night of shame

Hibernian 0 Rangers 3

Get in: Jermain Defoe slams in the third Rangers goal
Get in: Jermain Defoe slams in the third Rangers goal

By Andy Newport

Rangers proved they can live without Alfredo Morelos as they swept past hapless Hibernian 3-0 on the latest night of shame at Easter Road.

The Ibrox top goalscorer was banned for the meeting with Jack Ross' team after his sending off at Motherwell but it made little difference for the Light Blues.

Steven Gerrard had the luxury of replacing his 27-goal hitman with Jermain Defoe and the veteran Englishman rounded off a dominant win early in the second period.

Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo terrorised Hibs for most of the first half and both got their names on the scoresheet.

But there were disgraceful scenes as visiting defender Borna Barisic narrowly avoided being struck with a glass bottle hurled from the East Stand.

The shocking incident came as the Croatian lay on the ground after being sent spinning by a shocking Ryan Porteous tackle, which earned a red card for the Scotland Under-21 defender and will force him to miss the Edinburgh derby at Hearts on Boxing Day. Hibs will now face pressure to explain how they plan to curb the behaviour of their fans.

Chief executive Leeann Dempster last year said she would consider closing sections of the ground after an incident in which Rangers skipper James Tavernier was confronted by a pitch invader just weeks after Celtic's Scott Sinclair was also targeted with a Buckfast bottle.

Porteous' challenge also sparked a touchline melee which ended with Hibs assistant boss John Potter and Gers coach Tom Culshaw being sent to the stands.

The Light Blues were under pressure to respond after Celtic's win at Tynecastle on Wednesday opened up a five-point gap at the top but they proved they are up for the title fight with a one-sided win to trim the deficit back to two. The Gers did get a helping hand as Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano cannoned Lewis Stevenson's back-pass straight into Aribo's shins just four minutes in. The ball looped out to Kent on the edge of the box but the winger made it looked simple as he swept it back into the unguarded net.

It was the visitors cheering again after just eight minutes.

Aribo drove inside Stevenson before a reverse pass for the galloping Ryan Jack into the space the Hibs left-back had just vacated.

Jack pulled it back for Aribo, who expertly steered his cut back into far corner. But any fears Rangers had of repeating this month's Pittodrie collapse were wiped out in the 53rd minute as Defoe sealed the win.

Jason Naismith could only head a James Tavernier cross to Scott Arfield 20 yards out. The ball was immediately headed back in the penalty area with Defoe shifting it past Naismith with one touch before drilling beyond a stationary Marciano with his next.

HIBERNIAN: Marciano, Naismith, Porteous, Hanlon, Stevenson, Hallberg, Boyle, Mallan (Slivka 46), Allan (McGregor 64), Kamberi (Horgan 46), Doidge. Subs not used: Jackson, Bogdan, Shaw, Murray.

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Barisic, Arfield, Jack (Stewart 80), Kamara, Aribo (Ojo 75), Defoe, Kent (Barker 77). Subs not used: Edmundson, Foderingham, Halliday, Polster.

Referee: Nick Walsh

Match rating: 7/10 Man of match: Kent

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