7:25:10 PMHibernian 0-0 Rangers
|Chris Burke and Paul Hanlon tussle for possession |
It was an end-to-end contest at Easter Road
Hibernian and Rangers cancelled each other out in an entertaining, open Scottish Cup tie at Easter Road.
Both sides came close on several occasions, but neither was able to break the deadlock.
The home side twice had efforts cleared off the line, and Alan McGregor saved a powerful Steven Fletcher drive.
Barry Ferguson, Lee McCulloch and Charlie Adam were all denied goals for Rangers, who ended up with ten men after McGregor was harshly sent off
Early in the match Hibs' Merouane Zemmama showed his ability by leaving two players for dead.
But the Moroccan then frustrated, by holding on to the ball with Brian Kerr free in the box, and Kirk Broadfoot cleared to safety.
Rangers then had an appeal for a penalty waved aside when Steven Naismith appeared to be tripped by Kevin McCann just inside the box.
Hibs keeper Yves Ma-Kalambay kept his team in the match, saving superbly from Ferguson, after the Rangers captain swept in Chris Burke's cut back.
And Rangers threatened again with McCulloch flicking a yard over from inside the box on 19 minutes.
Zemmama, created an opening for Hibs just before the half-hour mark.
The Moroccan flicked into the penalty area for Fletcher to chase but, under pressure from Carlos Cuellar, the striker shot wildly.
Rangers' patient build up between Broadfoot, Ferguson and Adam nearly paid dividends when the ball was delivered deep to the far post.
But McCulloch, relishing his attacking role, watched his header back across goal bounce inches wide with Ma-Kalambay stranded.
And despite seldom threatening the Rangers goal in the opening period, Hibs nearly took the lead twice in the space of a minute.
First, Zemmama's cross was nodded down for Dean Shiels, but the Irishman could not control the ball quick enough, and his eventual shot was deflected wide.
Then, from the resulting corner Fletcher's diving header was cleared off the goal line by Naismith, as the home side ended the half stronger.
The second half started at blistering pace with Ma-Kalamby saving form McCulloch and Adam, while John Rankin screwed a shot wide of Alan McGregor's goal.
Easter Road then looked on in disbelief as McGregor somehow pushed Fletcher's left-footed pile-driver away to safety.
Minutes later Fletcher nearly opened the scoring in controversial circumstances.
Shiels controlled the ball with his hand and released the striker, who round McGregor only for Sasa Papac to head off the line.
With five minutes remaining McGregor again saved low from Rankin.
But a pulsating encounter ended on a sour note, when referee Craig Thomson sent the Rangers keeper off for making minimal contact to bring down the on-rushing Shiels outside the box.
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