HIBERNIAN 1 RANGERS 0
Rangers win 2-1 on aggregate
Rangers moved within two games of ending a three-year exile from the Scottish Premiership after holding off Hibernian in their play-off semi-final at Easter Road.
Two goals up from Wednesday’s first leg, the Glasgow side could afford to concede Jason Cummings’ late strike in the Leith return and hold on for a 1-0 defeat which sees them through to a final showdown against Motherwell with a 2-1 aggregate success.
Ten years on from celebrating the most dramatic of their 54 top-flight title triumphs in the east end of Edinburgh, Rangers survived 90 tense minutes at the same venue as they took another huge step back towards the top flight.
Hibs, beaten play-off finalists last year, had chances - notably two efforts from striker Dominique Malonga - to put the Light Blues under pressure earlier but will now be locked out of the Premiership for at least another year.
Rangers, though, will hope to complete their promotion push by seeing off the Steelmen, with the first leg against the Premiership’s second bottom side scheduled for Ibrox on Thursday.
McCall sprang a surprise ahead of kick-off as he recalled out-of-form skipper Lee McCulloch. The 37-year-old centre-back had not started since his error-strewn display against Falkirk in Rangers’ penultimate Championship fixture but returned to replace Nicky Clark.
McCall was hoping the 3-5-2 formation which worked so well the last time his side visited Leith at the end of March would do the trick again.
Hibs manager Alan Stubbs, meanwhile, decided Dylan McGeouch would give the Edinburgh men more energy in midfield as he started in place of Scott Robertson.
Having been limited to just 900 tickets for Wednesday’s first leg, Hibs responded in kind by slashing the Rangers travelling support’s allocation to just 1,500.
But the atmosphere was just as lively, even with the South Stand half empty.