By: Hibernian Media on 28 Mar, 2020 12:32
Saturday 14 October, 2000
Scottish Premier League
David Zitelli scored the only goal of the game as a swashbuckling Hibs side saw off SPL champions Rangers at Easter Road.
The Frenchman struck with a characteristically cool finish, having previously knocked the Light Blues out of the UEFA Cup in his days as a Strasbourg striker.
The high-flying Hibees went into the game on the back of just one defeat from our opening 12 games to the season.
Billy Dodds wasted an early chance for the visitors and it would prove costly, with Alex McLeish’s men seizing the initiative.
Zitelli capitalised on a moment of slackness at the back from Lorenzo Amoruso and drew a smart stop from young Rangers goalkeeper Mark Brown, who would, of course, go on to play for Hibs.
Zitelli saw another effort go just wide, with Stuart Lovell also trying his luck.
The hosts’ pressure soon paid off thanks to a devastating counter-attack.
A rare misplaced pass from Rangers midfielder Tugay was seized upon by the lively John O’Neil.
O’Neil played a sharp one-two with Mixu Paatelainen before playing a perfect through-ball into the path of Zitelli, who got timing of his run spot on.
The striker showed considerable composure to slot beyond Brown.
O’Neil was in dominant form – running the midfield alongside Mathias Jack and Russell Latapy.
They restricted an expensively-assembled Rangers line-up to a handful of opportunities, with Tony Vidmar watching on despondently as his header was blocked on the line before a Jorg Albertz flew high over the bar.
In a bid to turn the tide, Rangers introduced Andrei Kanchelskis and former Hibs kid Kenny Millar at the start of the second half in place of Allan Johnston and Sergio Porrini.
Dirk Lehmann was also introduced for Zitelli, who was still working his way towards full match fitness.
Lehmann threated to double Hibs’ advantage, controlling a long ball on his chest before a lobbed effort just cleared the crossbar.
Rangers could and should have levelled on the hour mark, with Kanchelskis bursting clear on the right and well placed to get his shot away.
However, he crumpled to the turf instead of testing Nick Colgan and was promptly booked for his efforts.
Hibs, again, came close to finding the scoresheet, this time through Gary Smith.
Picking the ball up 25 yards from goal, the Rangers defence looked untroubled until he surprised many inside Easter Road with a deft chip that hit the bar.
Hearts were in mouths as Barry Ferguson rippled the net after a clever pass from Albertz, but an offside flag preserved the one-goal advantage.
Lehmann volleyed wide as Hibs upped the ante, with Rangers then reduced to 10 men after Kanchelskis was shown a second yellow card for a late lunge on Ulrik Laursen.
Despite going a man down, Rangers rallied and could easily have nicked a point in the dying stages.
Peter Lovenkrands missed an open goal after a defensive mix-up – volleying over – before the Ibrox side has a second ‘goal’ of the afternoon chalked off for offside as Albertz handled before lashing home.
Hibs held on for a ninth win from 12 games and would go on to finish third in the SPL.
Hibernian: Colgan, Lovell, Smith, Sauzee, Fenwick, Laursen, Latapy, O’Neil, Jack, Paatelainen, Zitelli.