Jermain Defoe didn’t have to wait too long before scoring the opening goal in the Glasgow Rangers v Hibernian game at Ibrox Park in Sunday’s 6-1 win.
Left out by Steven Gerrard’s in the last two Gers starting line-ups for Alfredo Morelos, the veteran Englishman scored with his right foot, then with his left and his third strike was a well-placed header to complete the perfect hat-trick.
It was Defoe’s first in Scotland since joining Rangers last January on an 18-month Ibrox deal and he was given the man of the match award due to his sublime goal-scoring contribution.
With Rangers on easy street and two goals up, Gerrard must have been annoyed as his young side took their foot off the pedal for the second game in a row.
The midfield were caught napping as Scott Allan’s superb defence-splitting pass teed up centre forward Daryl Horgan to slot home past Allan McGregor to give Hibs a glimmer of hope at 2-1 before half time.
It also happened when Rangers were 3-0 up in Denmark. They relaxed for six minutes and FC Midtjylland scored two quick goals to get back in the game at 3-2, before Scott Arfield knocked in Rangers fourth, to put them in a great position for Thursday’s Ibrox game.
Rangers were up against an unbelievable display from Hibs stopper Ofir Marciano, an Israeli keeper who time-after-time prevented so many goals from being added to the total – it could easily have been ten.
But I have to say Ryan Jack was once again a complete stand out, the way he controlled the midfield alongside Steve Davis and was involved in absolutely everything that was good in the game.
He could easily become as important a player to the Ibrox club as the ex-captain Barry Ferguson.
For many years the No.1 name in the Gers starting XI was Ferguson – a true Rangers legend. He even played when he was not 100% fit, and still played well for the team.
I know Defoe with his three goals and Morelos scoring twice in the last 15 minutes will receive most of the plaudits, and also a special mention for Jordan Jones who looks real class and fast player.
Glen Kamara, who was out injured, and Jack, have both been improved by Gerrard for their composure and passing ability, to where they can now dictate games along with Davis, Aribo and Arfield, who was also rested.
Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo also caused Hibernian lots of problems and scored another good goal for Rangers.
I’m sure Defoe would love to play against FC Midtjylland this Thursday in the return Europa League third round leg, but Morelos, who ran them ragged last week, was rested to give Defoe a game against Hibs.
As far as Gerrard’s concerned, it’s all about the squad and whoever plays had better be ready.