Philippe Clement’s tenure as Rangers boss got off to a turbo-charged start with a thumping 4-0 cinch Premiership win over Hibernian at Ibrox.
The 49-year-old Belgian was appointed as Michael Beale’s successor last Sunday and he was given a huge ovation from the Light Blues fans before the game in which the Gers began in a more energetic and direct fashion.
Attacker Abdallah Sima sped away in the 17th minute to score in a fifth consecutive game before Belgian midfielder Nicolas Raskin drilled in a second from distance just before the interval.
Sima added a third in the 65th minute to make it nine for the season and striker Cyriel Dessers got a close-range goal 10 minutes from time.
Although it was far from complete performance from Rangers, the Easter Road side’s six-game unbeaten run – five under Nick Montgomery – was emphatically ended.
Rangers moved four points behind Celtic who play Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday and while title hopes still need nursing, the Gers fans can take encouragement from the performance and win.
There was much interest in Clement’s first team selection but due to injury issues his options were limited.
Winger Scott Wright returned from suspension and midfielder Sam Lammers and Dessers came back in while fit-again Todd Cantwell, Ryan Jack and Danilo started on the bench.
Montgomery drafted in veteran defender Paul Hanlon for his 550th appearance and attacker Adam Le Fondre for what shaped up to be his toughest test so far as Easter Road boss.
There was a new figure in the Rangers technical area but the supporters were still suspicious of the players who had underperformed this season.
From the fans perspective there was an immediate and much-desired increase in tempo with the ball getting moved forward quicker.
Lammers took a defence-splitting pass from skipper James Tavernier in the seventh minute but his shot was blocked for a corner by Hibs defender Will Fish which came to nothing.
The game was already open and at the other end, Gers keeper Jack Butland gathered an angled-drive from Dylan Vente before left-back Borna Barisic picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Ridvan Yilmaz.
A Dessers shot was saved by Hibs keeper David Marshall but he had no chance when Sima combined with Dessers moments later and burst through the middle of the Hibees defence to drive low into the far corner.
In the 27th minute, after a melee in the Hibs penalty area, there was a VAR check for a possible penalty when the ball appeared to strike Joe Newell’s arm before Sima’s shot went past the post but referee Don Robertson was told to play on.
Just before the break, as possession changed hands 25 yards from the Hibs goal, Raskin took matters into his own hands when he thundered a low shot past Marshall.
Rangers kept up the pace in the second half and in the 53rd minute, following another swift Gers break, Dessers stabbed a Wright cut-back into arms of Marshall with Sima waiting by his side to finish.
Moments later, Lammers smashed a shot against the post from eight yards, after Dessers had robbed Hanlon, before Cantwell replaced Wright.
Sima’s goal came when Dessers took a brilliant Lammers pass, rounded Marshall but saw his shot blocked on the line before the Brighton loanee hammered it high into the net.
There was still plenty time remaining and when Cantwell slipped a clever ball into Dessers 10 yards from goal, he side-footed it past the helpless Marshall to complete an invigorating afternoon for anyone of a Light Blue persuasion.