While Rangers enjoy a 100% record in the league, and just that one defeat all season to St Johnstone in the Cup, it is time to concede that Hibernian really are a threat and not to be taken lightly.
They have lost three matches this season – two to Rangers, and one at Dumbarton, where Rangers too struggled. While the opening competitive match of the season ended up a demolition of Stubbs’ men, it took till James Tavernier’s screaming free kick for Rangers to finally gain a foothold in the match, which, up till then, had been all Hibernian.
Even the 1-0 league win at Ibrox took a magical free kick from the same man to break Hibs down and the possession stat which followed that match remains Rangers’ least impressive all season.
The point is that after the pointing and laughing at Hibernian being in the bottom three after a couple of matches, they are now justifiably third with an increasingly strong record – it includes beating an in-form Aberdeen side (who top the SPL) with a shut-out to boot.
The same happened last year – after a slow start to life in the Championship, Hibernian picked up and finished second. Now they are third, and looking easily the biggest threat to Rangers.
Forget the bad blood between the two sides and all the nonsense which has gone on – from a football sense, they are a genuine thorn in Rangers’ side, and it is only a matter of time before they overtake Falkirk.
Do not be surprised to see QoS travel to the Bairns and cause an upset – Falkirk will be reeling from that humiliation at Ross County and their confidence will be shot. If any side outwith Rangers and Hibernian can beat Falkirk on their own patch, it would be James Fowler’s men. So that overtake could happen this weekend.
But this is conjecture. What is not, however, is Hibs’ current form. Since losing at Ibrox they have recorded five straight wins, and look to be hitting a real stride. While everyone is impressed with Rangers’ record this season, another unconvincing match on Sunday would give Hibernian impetus to believe they can win the title this season.
Should they beat St Mirren, and they should, it will cut Rangers’ lead to 6 points, putting critical pressure on the trip to Cappielow to restore the 9-point gap.
This is why Rangers need their form back, and why Hibernian are not to be taken lightly.
Not any more.