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Hosts Hibernian have chance to close gap on rocky Rangers

Hibernian go into this battle for second place in the Scottish Championship as the 9/4 outsiders for victory with Coral against Rangers (23/20), but those odds are tempting given their current form and the visitors’ recent troubles.

The Edinburgh outfit may be seven points behind their upcoming rivals, but can close that gap to four with a win at home, and have every chance to do so after beating Gers at Ibrox in the reverse fixture this term.

Hibs were 3-1 victors that day, and are tempting 28/1 chances for that same scoreline, to inflict more misery on Rangers, who are on a run of just two triumphs in their last five league matches. Glasgow giants Gers also go into this post-Christmas game without manager Ally McCoist, who was placed on gardening leave, with Kenny McDowall taking over the reins until the end of the season.

But Rangers have an outstanding record against Hibs, having won eight of their last nine in the league against them, prior to the match at Ibrox this season. They also beat the capital club in the Scottish League Cup this term, 2-1 after extra time, and have odds of 8/1 for that result in their favour at Easter Road.

A draw, meanwhile, as was the outcome in 90 minutes in that battle, is priced at 12/5, with a 1-1 scoreline a more enticing 6/1.

For former Celtic and Everton player Alan Stubbs’ men, back Jason Cummings to be among the goals here. The teenaged forward bagged a brace last time out against Rangers, and he is a 7/4 chance in the anytime scorer market again.

Congo international Dominique Malonga, meanwhile, has been in great form this term, and he is also a 7/4 price in the same market, and 6/1 to strike first.

Rangers will be hoping their leading marksman this season, Nicky Law, who has scored twice against Hibs this term, can carry on his form, and he is a tempting 11/4 chance to net again anytime.

Stubbs goes up against McDowall, who were one at Celtic at the same time, and the former said ahead of the game: “We crossed paths in my time at Celtic. I know Kenny really well, and the fact that he’s taken the reins now that Ally’s on gardening leave it’s a big job for him.

“Whether there is a slight change or whether it’s a continuity where he says ‘right, no different, we carry on’, whether they keep the same formation as in 4-4-2 or whether they change the personnel within that, we will see on the team-sheets before the game.

“It’s not going to alter the way we’re going to approach the game.

Saturday is a big game and it can give us a real impetus to try and claw into that gap that is between us at this moment,” Stubbs added.

“But no matter what happens on Saturday, I still feel as if we can try and get into that second place from now until the end of the season. That’s our ultimate aim.”