Rangers go top after Miller-inspired win at Hibernian

Rangers go top after Miller-inspired win at Hibernian

Hibernian 0 Rangers 3

Kenny Miller returned to haunt another former club as his clinical first-half double put Rangers back on top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The former Celtic striker, who netted twice at Parkhead last month, finished off two Kirk Broadfoot assists with a diving header and 20-yard curler.

Souleymane Bamba and Ian Murray came close for Hibernian but Rangers were comfortable after the break and Madjid Bougherra’s first goal for the club rounded off the win.

Miller returned from injury as Kris Boyd’s wonder goal in Wednesday’s Co-operative Insurance Cup win over Partick Thistle failed to save him from demotion to the bench.

But Smith’s decision to partner Miller with Jean-Claude Darcheville looked wise even before he found the net as the lively Scotland striker caused problems in the home defence with his clever and energetic play.

Smith also brought back Charlie Adam for Nacho Novo in left midfield while Neil Alexander continued in goal.

Hibernian handed Derek Riordan his first start following his return from Celtic but he was denied a chance to add to his winner at Hamilton the previous weekend.

Miller caused problems from the start with a good run and cross that Yves Ma-Kalambay palmed away before Murray’s excellent tackle on Adam prevented the midfielder following up.

Rangers dominated the early stages and Miller shot just wide from 20 yards after Chris Hogg had gifted possession to Darcheville.

Rangers continued to edge possession but they were cut open in the 14th minute when Riordan fed Dean Shiels in the right channel, and the visitors needed Alexander to stand up and block a powerful shot.

Rangers found themselves restricted to long-range shots in the middle period of the half, and efforts by Adam and Darcheville were well off target.

Hibs were growing in confidence but they were undone by a trio of former players in the 31st minute.

Kevin Thomson headed Bamba’s header off the line following Riordan’s corner and Rangers went in front seconds later when Miller broke away from the static home defence to glance a diving header into the far corner following Broadfoot’s right-wing cross.

Steven Fletcher fired wide off the head of David Weir following a good run and Hibs came even closer as they kept the pressure on following the subsequent corner.

Riordan chased a hopeful ball and volleyed across the six-yard box where Murray raced in to stab against the post.

However, Miller netted again in the 40th minute following another assist from Broadfoot. The former Hibernian striker ran onto the full-back’s clever reverse pass and curled a left-footed shot into the far corner from 20 yards.

Darcheville and Rob Jones followed Broadfoot into referee Callum Murray’s book after the pair clashed when the Frenchman reacted with a slap to comments by the Hibs defender.

After a scrappy start to the second period, Alexander produced another good stop when he pushed wide Joe Keenan’s 16-yard strike.

Rangers were looking dangerous on the break and Miller should have had an assist after his sharp pass put Darcheville clean through following a poor clearance by Hogg.

However, the former Bordeaux striker dragged his shot wide as he ran into the box.

Adam curled a 25-yard free-kick just beyond the far post following another counter-attack before both Jones and sub Steven Pinau failed to make convincing enough contact with a free-kick into the Rangers box.

Rangers killed the game off in the 74th minute when Bougherra bundled home Thomson’s near-post free-kick from six yards.

Alexander held Bamba’s weak header from close range but Hibs could not muster any late pressure and sub Nacho Novo came close to a fourth when he stabbed wide from Broadfoot’s driven cross.

The impressive full-back then set up Miller again but he drilled wide of the far post from 15 yards.

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