Malik Tillman got off to a great start under Rangers’ new head coach as he assisted on two goals to help them to a come-from-behind win. Elsewhere, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Celtic held to squeak past Aberdeen as the Scottish Premiership returned to action over the weekend.
Rangers 3-2 Hibernian
Rangers needed two second-half goals to take all three points as they came away with the narrow win over Hibernian at Ibrox on Friday night.
Malik Tillman started his first official game under new head coach Michael Beale and was the star man as he completed 81 percent of his passes and won nine duels along with two shots in his 87 minutes on the field. James Sands was also in the starting eleven completing 90 percent of his passes, winning nine duels, and making two tackles as he went the distance.
The hosts would find themselves behind after eight minutes when Ryan Porteous was left unmarked to run onto a Joe Newell corner kick to send a thumping header past Rangers’ goalkeeper Allan McGregor. However, Fashion Sakala would level the score seven minutes later when he received a pass from Ryan Kent to slam the ball home.
Hibs would silence the cheers of the Ibrox faithful once again as they retook the lead immediately after the restart when Kevin Nisbet caught the backline napping, allowing him to run onto the loose ball and poke it past McGregor.
It seemed like it would be another long night for Rangers as they struggled in games prior to the firing of Giovanni van Bronckhorst. However, Beale’s adjustments during halftime did the trick and Tillman would be the man to guide them to victory.
The Light Blues leveled the score in the 58th minute when the German-born midfielder headed a James Tavernier corner kick into the path of Ryan Jack to knock in from close range.
The comeback was complete four minutes later when Tillman pounced on a through-ball from Tavernier and sidestepped his marker before delivering the ball to Alfredo Morelos to slot home.
The 20-year-old nearly grabbed a goal for himself later when Adam Devine sent a low cross in his direction, but he couldn’t get it past Hibs’ goalkeeper David Marshall as he had his near post well covered.
It was a much-needed win for Rangers as they will need to improve further if they want to cut the points gap.
The win leaves them second in the standings with 36 points.
Aberdeen 0-1 Celtic
Celtic should have had the game in the bag much sooner, but an 87th-minute strike did the job as they came away with the win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie Stadium to maintain their nine-point lead at the top.
Cameron-Carter Vickers returned to the starting eleven for the Hoops following World Cup duty, completing 84 percent of his passes, winning 13 duels, and making three tackles in 90-plus minutes of action. On the other side, Christian Ramirez remained rooted to the bench.
It would be a scoreless first half as the visitors had a clear advantage but couldn’t capitalize on it with a goal.
The second half would be much of the same as Celtic pushed to break the deadlock. They would come very close when Liel Abada set up Kyogo Furuhashi, but the Japanese international sent the ball wide of the goal. His next attempt later on, a scissors kick, would also go wide of the mark.
Aberdeen probably thought they would get a point of the game, but Callum McGregor came to the rescue for the visitors three minutes before time when James Forrest teed up the Scotsman to take a strike from the edge of the area that beat goalkeeper Kelle Roos.
Celtic remains atop of the standings with 45 points.
In League One, Emmanuel Johnson remained on the bench for FC Edinburgh as they shared the points with Montrose following a 2-2 draw.
Several of the other scheduled games featuring Americans were postponed.