Rangers top the Premiership after Hibernian stun champions Celtic

Florian Kamberi celebrates his second-half goal against the champions. Photograph: Kevin Murray/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

Rangers returned to the top of the Scottish Premiership on Sunday thanks to a 1-0 win over Hamilton at Ibrox. Celtic’s surprise defeat by Hibernian at Easter Road earlier in the day had left Kilmarnock in top spot but Steven Gerrard’s side took advantage to move a point clear of their Old Firm rivals.

Gerrard has seen his side now score just one goal from open play in the last six games but it was enough on this occasion for an important three points after Daniel Candeias netted in the third minute.

Remarkably Rangers should have been in front even before that. Kyle Lafferty – in for the suspended top-scorer Alfredo Morelos – forced a corner when he caught Hamilton’s goalkeeper, Gary Woods, dallying on the ball outside his box. But the Northern Irishman somehow failed to bury his header from a yard out as James Tavernier swung over a perfect delivery, instead nodding against the back post.

Gerrard had no time to lament that miss as his side did grab the lead within a blink of the eye. Borna Barisic released Eros Grezda down the left. Lafferty’s shot was blocked by Matt Kilgallon as the striker got on to the Albanian’s cut-back but there was no stopping Candeias’ follow-up shot.

It was a timely win for Gerrard and Rangers, after two league games without victory had seen them surrender top place two weeks ago. “I’m happy with the win and the clean sheet but we’ve got a lot to learn in terms of the performance,” said Gerrard.

Rangers had been offered the opportunity of top place after Hibernian produced a fine performance to see off Celtic. The champions were unbeaten in the league since September but it took only 42 seconds for the hosts to go ahead when Vykintas Slivka turned coolly inside the box and curled the ball past Craig Gordon with his left foot.

Brendan Rodgers’ men were off the pace and, though they created openings, they were unable to pose a consistent threat to Ofir Marciano’s goal. It was shortly before the hour mark when the game was in effect decided, as Florian Kamberi somehow found himself in acres of space and was well picked out by Sean Mackie for the striker to slam a fine finish past Gordon.

It was a welcome three points for Neil Lennon and appeared to signal a return to form after a seven-match winless run that was ended last week.

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