Hibernian return to action at Easter Road on Wednesday aiming to end a tough run of form in the Scottish Premiership in the midst of what has been a disappointing first half to the campaign.
After 20 outings in Scotland’s top flight, Hibs currently sit sixth with just 25 points on the board, having only managed to add one point to that tally in the last three attempts since mid-December, firstly seeing a hot streak ended by a 1-0 defeat away at St Johnstone before losing by the same scoreline to Edinburgh rivals Hearts after Christmas as Lawrence Shankland netted the only goal in injury time.
Nick Montgomery’s side were then most recently in league action soon after the turn of the year at home to Motherwell, and they were, at least, able to snatch a point from a 2-2 draw as Elie Youan netted his second goal of the game in the 91st minute.
Having headed into the winter break with spirits low as a result of their dip in form, Hibs returned to action with a trip to Forfar Athletic in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Saturday and managed to bounce back to winning ways and book a round-of-16 place with a 1-0 triumph courtesy of Christian Doidge’s 69th-minute goal.
With their focus now back on the league pursuits, returning with a four-point gap up to fifth-placed St Mirren and just a two-point lead over Dundee in the bottom half, Hibernian will be keen to end their wait for a seventh league win of the season on Wednesday to begin improving their standing in the middle of the Premiership.
That will be no easy task, though, as Rangers travel to Edinburgh aiming to strengthen their title hopes and replicate a 4-0 triumph over Hibernian in the sides’ last meeting at Ibrox in October.
In their bid to regain the Scottish Premiership title from rivals Celtic this term, the Glasgow giants currently sit second with 46 points on the board from 20 outings, eight fewer than the leaders with two games in hand, having managed 15 victories from those games while suffering four defeats.
On the back of an 11-game span which produced 10 victories and draw between early November and Christmas Eve, the most recent of their losses was a particularly harmful one in the Old Firm Derby against Celtic to cap off 2023, as Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo Furuhashi netted goals in a 2-1 home triumph at Celtic Park with James Tavernier’s goal coming too late to trigger a turnaround.
Philippe Clement’s side were, at least, able to bounce back to winning ways when they welcomed Kilmarnock to Ibrox after the turn of the year, prevailing in a 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Ross McCausland, Abdallah Sima and Todd Cantwell, before returning from the recent break with a 4-1 Scottish Cup fourth-round win away at Dumbarton with John Lundstram, Cyriel Dessers, Tavernier and Scott Wright on the scoresheet.
Now heading into one of their games in hand over Celtic with the aim of reducing the gap to five points, Rangers will aim to pick up where they left off in just their second league game of the New Year and prevail at Easter Road.