Heart of Midlothian has as good as locked away the Scottish Championship title and automatic promotion into Scotland’s elite. Even though Rangers has three Scottish Championship games in hand on Heart of Midlothian it will take nothing short of a miracle for the Gers to catch Hearts, not least before the Ibrox Stadium side is in turmoil once again.
Rangers is the gift that keeps on giving for fans of its deadly rival, Celtic. Accusations of board interference are flying left, right and centre and Rangers crashed out of the Scottish FA Cup on Sunday, losing 1-2 at home to Raith, a side that the Gers had beaten 4-0 and 6-1 in their previous meetings this term. Rangers is in crisis and not even its most ardent fan would back it to defeat Hibernian on Friday.
It was only seven weeks ago that Rangers played Hibernian at Easter Road and the result was ugly for the Gers. Hibernian scored twice in the opening 12 minutes and two second-half goals in quick succession sealed the deal for the Hibees. Hibernian’s 4-0 Scottish Championship home victory over Rangers was not a fluke, either. Three months earlier the teams met in the Scottish Championship at Ibrox Stadium and the result was an emphatic 3-1 away win for Hibernian, which put the match to bed with three goals in a 15-minute spell.
There is a lot to like about backing Hibernian to get the better of Rangers. The state of the Scottish Championship ladder is such that Hibernian, which is four points ahead of Queen of the South having played one game extra than the Doonhammers, can afford to throw the kitchen sink at Rangers because it has more to gain than it has to lose. Second spot in the Scottish Championship is worth quite a lot given the way in which the play-off series operates and Hibernian has to beat Rangers on Ibrox Stadium if it is going to overtake the Gers before the regular season program is complete.
Rangers interim manager Kenny McDowall has suffered three defeats in his five matches at the helm since Ally McCoist went on gardening leave. Over the same period Hibernian’s record reads four wins, three draws and no losses and its run includes a 1-1 draw at Heart of Midlothian. Moreover, Hibernian has not trailed in any of those six games.
One is expecting Hibernian to crank up the heat on Rangers from the first whistle on Friday and, therefore, punters who really want to have a stab at landing a big-priced winner may be interested in backing the Hibees to lead the Gers at half time and full time. The double-result option is trading at odds of +475 with BetVictor and Boylesports and, as one noted earlier in this article, Hibernian led Rangers at half time and full time of their two most recent encounters.
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