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Rangers through but Hibernian knocked out of the Europa League

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard

Rangers held their nerve in Maribor as Allan McGregor's stoppage-time penalty save sealed the 0-0 draw which sees Steven Gerrard's men into the Europa League play-offs.

The Rangers boss vowed on Wednesday he would not park the bus and look to protect last week's 3-1 first-leg lead.

But the Light Blues had to grit their teeth as the Slovenians came for them at the Ljudski Stadion, with McGregor capping off a fine display as he repelled Marcos Tavares' late spot-kick.

A 4,600-mile round trip now beckons for Gers as they march on to face FC Ufa after the Russians denied Rangers a shot at revenge against Progres Niederkorn for last year's humiliating upset.

Ryan Jack was back after 10 days out with concussion but Lassana Coulibaly missed out with the strain picked up during Sunday's win over St Mirren.

The opening stages were a test of Gers' bottle as the hosts - buoyed by last week's away goal - looked to probe a defence weakened by the absence of Gers' suspended left-back Jon Flanagan and cup-tied new signing Borna Barisic.

It was a mistake from skipper James Tavernier which quickened the Scots' heart-rates but McGregor - as he was all night - was there to rescue as he pushed away Tavares' effort.

The clock only showed 18 minutes at that point but there were further scares for the 700 travelling supporters to endure in what turned out to be an agonisingly slow first period.

Andy Halliday was plugging the left-back slot but the nervy converted-midfielder was grateful to see a couple of misjudgements go unpunished while Nikola Katic did well to put off Sasa Ivkovic as he met a Amir Dervisevic corner six yards out.

Dervisevic almost caught Rangers off-guard as he lined-up a free-kick 30 yards out. A decoy runner was sent into the Gers box from deep and as the visitors dropped back to cover, the Slovenian international whipped a free-kick towards the top corner. Once again McGregor was on his toes, pulling off another vital stop.

Scott Arfield spooned over just before the break while Halliday had the ball in the net three minutes into the second half but Alfredo Morelos had run the ball out of play in the build-up.

Jamie Murphy wasted another chance for Gers after being sent clear by Morelos while the Ljudski groaned as another deflected Dervisevic effort went close.

Connor Goldson's refusal to be beaten in the air was becoming key for the visitors as he rebuffed cross after cross.

The tense atmosphere grew even more hostile as Belgian referee Jonathan Lardot stopped the game briefly to collect an array of objects that had rained down towards McGregor as he took a goal kick.

But the Gers keeper continued to defy the home support, pulling off a wonder block at point-blank range as Aleks Pihler nodded down for Tavares.

There was one last fright for Gers in added time as Goldson gave away a penalty with a trip on Luka Zahovic, but McGregor again refused to be beaten as he blocked Tavares' strike with his legs.

Hibernian came unstuck against Molde as teenage sensation Erling Braut Haaland sent Neil Lennon's side crashing out of the Europa League.

Haaland missed the goalless first leg in the third qualifying round to hold signing talks with Salzburg but the 18-year-old returned with a vengeance to score twice and set up another as Hibs lost 3-0 in Norway.

The son of former Leeds player Alf-Inge Haaland headed home from close range in the 35th minute after Efe Ambrose had been caught underneath a deep free-kick.

Haaland, who has been watched by Manchester United, set up Fredrik Aursnes to net in the 66th minute and he completed the job with another close-range finish with eight minutes left after Jamie Maclaren had been denied by the post for the visitors.

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Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: Roma tracking Young

Roma are looking at Ashley Young while his Manchester United team-mate Chris Smalling is wanted by Everton - all in today's newspapers.

England v USA: International friendly taking place on November 152

England v USA match preview

With England hosting USA in Thursday's international friendly, our match preview features Gareth Southgate, Wayne Rooney and more...

Benjamin Mendy3

Mendy has knee surgery

Benjamin Mendy's injury curse has struck again as the Manchester City defender is set to be out until 2019 after having a knee operation.

Our best bets for England v USA4

Rooney set to strike in final game

It's all about Wayne Rooney in his final game for England, and there is value to back him striking against the United States.

Test your Wayne Rooney knowledge with our Sporting Life quiz5

Rooney quiz: Test yourself!

Wayne Rooney will have a hero's send off when he represents England for the final time in the Three Lions' friendly with USA on Thursday.

Football Tips

Our best bets for England v USA

Rooney set to strike in final game

It's all about Wayne Rooney in his final game for England, and there is value to back him striking against the United States.

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