Martin Boyle was Hibernian’s hat-trick hero in the 3-1 humbling of Rangers which set up a Scottish league cup final with Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic next month.
New Rangers boss Giovanni Van Bronckhorst watched from the Hampden Park main stand awaiting a work permit, as the Australian international scored three times in 38 minutes before Gers midfielder Scott Arfield’s strike gave the flailing Ibrox side a semi-final lifeline.
However, Hibs remained resilient under pressure and Rangers, led since Steven Gerrard’s departure by B-team boss David McCallum and his assistant Brian Gilmour, helped by player-coach Jermain Defoe and goalkeeping coach Colin Stewart, ran out of ideas and time.
Former Gers player Van Bronckhorst will have been concerned by Rangers’ shambolic defending in the first half while Jack Ross’ side can now look forward to taking on the other side of the Old Firm at the national stadium on December 19.
“It’s unbelievable, I can’t put into words,” said Boyle.
“That game is up at the very top. Moments like these don’t come around often, you’ve got to cherish them.
“We came here today and showed what we’re capable of.”
Aberdonian Boyle, who plays for Australia as father Graeme is from Sydney, started the scoring in the ninth minute. He was alert to knocked the ball past Allan McGregor from a yard out after it appeared that Rangers skipper James Tavernier had tried to chest Joe Newell’s corner back to his keeper and came up short.
Twelve minutes later Kevin Nisbet took a pass from Newell and played in Boyle who lashed the ball low past McGregor for number two.
The Light Blues were simply stunned.
Things got worse for Rangers in the 38th minute when midfielder Steve Davis bumped Boyle inside the box.
The Hibees forward took the kick himself hammering his penalty past McGregor to send the Hibs fans into raptures.
They were still celebrating when Hibs defender Ryan Porteous kicked a clearance straight to Arfield who curled the ball past Matt Macey to reduce the deficit.
The Light Blues spent much of the second half pressing but were unable to further reduce the deficit.