Hibs’ unbeaten run against Rangers continued with a 1-1 draw following a pulsating 96 minutes of non-stop action at Easter road tonight but the main talking point involved a spectator confronting Rangers defender James Tavernier.
Paul Heckingbottom made an enforced change to the starting XI that lost to Celtic with Stevie Mallan replacing the suspended Vykintas Slivka.
The visitors had the best of the opening period, dominating possession and mounting attack after attack.
In the 10th minute Darren McGregor was booked for elbowing Rangers’ striker Morelos. Ryan Kent then beat David Gray and cut back to Scott Arfield, who seemed certain to score but Mark Milligan produced a sensational block to deny the midfielder.
Alfredo Morelos forced a save from Ofir Marciano after robbing Paul Hanlon then the Israeli international produced a superb save to deny Kent.
At the other end there was confusion when the assistant referee wrongly flagged Marc McNulty offside.
Hibs played on but the ball was cleared and eventually fell to Daniel Candeias who curled the ball beyond Marciano into the top corner of the net.
Moments later a spectator inexplicably jumped on to the pitch and kicked the ball away from Tavernier, as he moved to pick it up to take a throw in. The pair confronted each other before the ‘supporter’ was led away by police.
Hibs started the second half in better form and should have equalised when McNulty set up Daryl Horgan, but his first-time effort was blocked by Allan McGregor.
With time running out Hibs grabbed a share of the points when Florian Kamberi slid in to knock home McNulty’s cross, sarking delight amongst the home fans.
From then on Hibs looked the more likely to score. McGregor saved McNulty’s powerful strike. Kamberi cut in from the left after fired a shot which McGregor parried into the path of Mallan who looked certain to score nut his side-foot deflected off Joe Worrall. McGregor was show a red card for a foul on Jermaine Defoe which sparked a melee amongst the players then in the last seconds of time added on Andy Halliday’s free-kick bounced off the top of the crossbar and the points were shared.
After the game Hibs’ Chief executive Leeann Dempster told BBC Radio Scotland that the fan will be banned for life and that she will personally apologise to Tavernier.
“They’ve embarrassed this club tonight again, it’s completely and utterly unacceptable,” she said.
“What are we going to be talking about tomorrow? What is going to be on the back pages of the paper? What are you going to be asking me about? You’re going to be asking me about this utter idiot.
“There is a big debate, a healthy debate going on in the Scottish game. But I’m going to bring it back to personal responsibility. Who thought it was okay to come in here with a glass bottle and throw it?
“Who thinks it’s alright to jump over an advertising hoarding? Ninety-nine-point-nine per cent of the people in here don’t think it’s okay and we ought to remember not to tarnish these guys as well.
“This individual will be banned for life. He’s in custody at the minute and that’s where he should remain as far as I’m concerned.
“This person and people like him are going to feel the full weight of what we, and hopefully Police Scotland, can deliver.”
Hibernian: Marciano, Gray, Hanlon, Milligan, Horgan (Bartley 90’), McNulty, Mallan, Stevenson, Kamberi, McGregor, Omeonga. Substitutes not used: Dabrowski, Bigirimana, Shaw, Murray, Mackie, Allan.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Jack, Kent, Halliday, Kamara, Morelos, Candeias, Arfield (Defoe 78’). Substitutes not used: Foderingham, Davis, Flanagan, McCrorie, Katic, Coulibaly. Referee: Steven McLean. Attendance: 20,065.