Rangers have booked their place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals after a 2-0 victory over Hibernian in a dramatic encounter at Easter Road. Goals in either half from John Lundstram and Fabio Silva put Rangers’ name in the hat for Monday’s last four draw.

Lundstram converted after James Tavernier saw his penalty saved. Hibs had Jordan Obita and Nathan Moriah-Welsh sent off in quick succession before Silva clinched it in the closing stages. All eyes are now on Europa League progression at Ibrox.

Clement’s side show character and quality

This was an evening where physical strength and mental fortitude were as important as technical quality and tactical aptitude. Rangers had to dig deep and somehow find a way to emerge victorious. This was winning in adversity. And it says so much about the job that Clement and his players continue to do to remain competitive on three fronts.

In some senses, the international break cannot come soon enough for a squad that is so depleted. Rangers have work to do before then, though. The return leg against Benfica could be another night to remember under the Ibrox floodlights and a trip to face Dundee next weekend carries it’s own significance as the league leaders look to move another small step towards the title.

Make no mistake, this was a difficult tie against a team that, as Clement stated this week, would have fancied their chances of a place in the last four. To come through it in this manner and in these circumstances speaks volumes for Rangers.

Rangers make the most of their chances

The VAR check to confirm the penalty call from Steven McLean was always going to be a formality. It was a clear infringement as Dujon Sterling was bundled over in the box. Rangers had worked it well down the right and a Tavernier pass sent Sterling towards goal. Obita had been exposed on the other side by Cyriel Dessers just seconds beforehand and his mind must still have been frazzled as he sent Sterling tumbling.

David Marshall saved well from Tavernier low to his right. He was helpless as Lundstram followed it up, though, and the midfielder beat a couple of defenders to the ball to convert from close range. Rangers had their opener, just not in the manner expected.

The moment that secured the place in the semi-finals came eight minutes from time. Silva collected the ball in the left channel, shifted it onto his right foot and beat Marshall with a low strike at the near post. It was a reward for a tireless shift from the Portuguese.

Injury crisis deepens

Predicting a Clement starting line-up has been a difficult task over the course of his reign. The Belgian has described his squad selections as a ‘puzzle’ as injuries have taken their toll and he has regularly made a handful of alterations – some of them enforced and some for tactical reasons - from match to match. On paper, there is no ‘best’ Rangers XI.

The team here was unchanged. Those that performed so admirably in Lisbon were asked to go again just hours after a fixture that was mentally and physically draining. Clement has thrown a couple of curveballs over his time, but that was arguably the biggest surprise of all. He stated pre-match that he needed the same players to start but he didn’t expect them to finish this Easter Road encounter.

Unfortunately for Clement, his first change had to come earlier than expected as Sterling was forced off and replaced by Ross McCausland. Clement and the Englishman exchanged words on the touchline before a dejected Sterling received a pat on the head and headed for the changing room.

The withdrawals of Tom Lawrence and Mohamed Diomande – just seconds after he spurned a glorious chance from 12 yards – were wise moves from Clement. Nicolas Raskin and Cole McKinnon were introduced. Both will be required over the next week.

Matondo is a silver lining

The return of Matondo was a welcome boost for Clement. The fact that his introduction came at the expense of McCausland summed up Rangers’ wretched injury record this term. The Northern Irishman received treatment before slowly making his way off and he sparked something of a flashpoint as Obita shoved him in an attempt to speed up his progress. Understandably, Clement was less than impressed. Obita didn’t last much longer as he received a second yellow card for clattering through the back of Matondo.

The Welshman almost picked out Kemar Roofe after working a short free-kick with Tavernier and sending a low cross towards the near post.

This was Matondo’s first outing since the home win over Ross County on Valentine’s Day. Normally Clement would seek to work him back into the side slowly and carefully, mindful of not overloading him unnecessarily. Given the situation from middle to front, Matondo will be needed sooner rather than later once again. Clement will have to cross his fingers.

Clean sheet a positive

This is the week that Jack Butland will finally discover if his form has been good enough to earn him a place in the England squad. The keeper spoke about it after the win over St Mirren and it has been on the agenda since. Given his standards over the course of the campaign, it would be a real surprise if he is not selected by Gareth Southgate to return to the international fold.

If Southgate was watching on from afar, he would have winced at the mistake Butland made early on as he exchanged passes with Connor Goldson just yards from his goal. Butland probably didn’t want the ball back under pressure and he was fortunate that a slack touch and moment of indecision didn’t end up with Myziane scoring from close range.

Hibs started the second half in the ascendancy, with Emiliano Marcondes, in particular, a threat in an impressive showing. Butland made a smart save to parry away a free-kick from the Dane. Some of Rangers’ problems were self-inflicted, though, and Goldson’s wayward passing was a real issue. It was an error-strewn showing from the stopper.

When Moriah-Welsh was shown a straight red card, that was that for Hibs. Nobody in green and white could have any complaints after a crude challenge on Lundstram. Rangers were worthy winners.