Verdict: Rangers win
Best Odds: 4/11
Getting a new era underway at Ibrox on Thursday night, Rangers will welcome Hibernian to Ibrox as the former champions look to make up some ground in the title chase.
Starting with the hosts, crashing out of this season’s Champions League earlier in the year after a nightmare campaign on the European stage, Rangers will get a new era underway here. Making the call to appoint new boss Michael Beale last month, the former QPR boss will be desperate to get his tenure off to a flying start here. Although the Scottish giants might find themselves sitting nine points adrift of defending champions and bitter rivals Celtic, the Blues should be boosted by an eye-catching friendly display last weekend. Breezing their way to a 3-0 victory at home against Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, Thursday’s hosts will be calling for a similar display at Ibrox. It should also be noted, continuing on from last season, Beale’s new squad have mustered 28 points from their previous 10 Premiership showdowns in front of their own supporters. Despite facing an uphill battle in this season’s title chase, Rangers are rightfully tipped as a landslide pick here.
While the defensive duo of Connor Goldson and Ben Davies might have returned to training, it is expected that Thursday’s meeting at Ibrox will come too early for both.
Likewise, Beale will also be without the likes of Tom Lawrence, Ianis Hagi, John Souttar, Filip Helander and Ridvan Yilmaz here. Borna Barisic will also not feature in midweek as the 30-year-old is still away with Croatia at this year’s World Cup.
As for the visitors, last seen heading into the World Cup’s enforced winter break with a toothless 1-0 loss away at Kilmarnock on November 12th, Hibernian make their return to action in the midst of a top-flight nightmare. With it looking like there is some real pressure on Lee Johnson’s shoulders as we inch closer to 2023, the former Sunderland boss has seen his side lose six of their last seven Premiership outings. Firmly battling it out at the foot of the table, the Edinburgh-based outfit will know that they face a huge task on Thursday night. Despite snatching a 2-2 draw when they welcomed Rangers to Easter Road back in August, they do hold a woeful record against the Scottish heavyweights. In fact, the Greens have managed to muster just a single victory from any of their previous 17 meetings against the midweek hosts – a run that stems all the way back to February 2018.
In what could be a real boost for Hibernian on Thursday night, Johnson’s side should welcome back Aiden McGeady at Ibrox.
However, after suffering a long-term knee injury, the former Sunderland boss will be without 29-year-old Martin Boyle for the rest of the season.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last faced off back on August 20th, Hibs and Rangers played out a lively 2-2 draw at Easter Road.
- However, Thursday’s guests have managed to muster just a single victory from any of their last 17 straight meetings against the defending champions.
- Continuing on from last season, Rangers have collected 28 points from their last 10 Premiership contests at Ibrox.
- Hibernian have lost each of their last four Premiership matchups away from Easter Road by an aggregate score of 12-2.
- Five of the previous six meetings between Rangers and Hibernian have seen over 1.5 goals by the final whistle.
Getting a new era underway on Thursday night, there is no doubt that Beale’s new squad should be confident of laying down a marker here. While the former Scottish champions might have had to settle for a lively 2-2 draw when they last faced off against Hibs back on August 20th at Easter Road, Rangers hold a rather rampant record against the away-day strugglers. Losing just one of their previous 17 straight meetings against the midweek guests, it should also be noted that the Edinburgh-based outfit have shown some rather glaring issues on the road. Losing each of their previous four Premiership away trips by an aggregate score of 12-2, it is hard to see anything other than a home victory at Ibrox.
Verdict: Rangers win
Best Odds: 4/11