Report: Rangers 1 Hearts 1
Sat 23.7.2011 / 12:30PM
It was a party atmosphere at Ibrox as chairman / owner Craig Whyte unfurled the SPL championship flag and fireworks were set off. All the fans were hyped up and ready to go, and the players looked really up for it. So much so I think that we forgot about our opponents - Hearts.
Hearts took the game to Rangers in the first half and were by far the best team. This was despite them losing ex Rangers defender Andy Webster after only eight minutes after the injury prone star limped off with a groin injury. No surprise there really.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist's first competitive line-up was McGregor in goals, a back four of Papac, Bougherra, Broadfoot and Whittaker. In midfield you had Ortiz on the left, McCulloch and Edu and the middle and Davis on the right. Naismith was paired with Jelavic up front.
Ortiz tried to create things down the left hand side but young Hearts right-back Ryan McGowan had him in his back pocket and stopped him from getting into the game. Jelavic was making some good runs and getting into some good positions but never really got any clear cut chances.
Hearts had a corner within the opening minute of the game. Nothing came of it but Hearts persevered and it wasn't long before they took the lead. Sixteen minutes in fact, and the goal scorer was midfielder David Obua who headed home superbly from a corner. However the marking was terrible and he should never have been allowed such an easy chance to score.
Rangers tried to come back at Hearts but they lacked any cutting edge and it was Hearts who continued to look the better team. David Templeton in particular was giving the Rangers defence problems. Broadfoot for me looked uncomfortable, perhaps understandably considering he had been out since last November.
Allan McGregor showed why Rangers were so desperate to tie him down to a long term contract, making a couple of vital saves in the first half. Templeton had a shot from about 15 yards which McGregor done well to keep out. Goalscorer David Obua also had a glorious opportunity but shot into the side netting.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist made some tactical changes at half-time, and they were great changes. Steven Davis went into the centre with Steven Naismith moving to the right side. Lee McCulloch also dropped back in front of the defence.
It was a great change by McCoist and Rangers looked like a far far better team in the second half. Davis had a long range effort well saved by Kello while Naismith missed a couple of glorious opportunities. The first one came from just inside the box where he looked like scoring but blasted the ball well over the bar, the second one he had the chance to head in but misjudged it and it came off his shoulder and didn't cause any problems for Kello.
Naismith made amends for these missed chances however after he was set up superbly by Sasa Papac on the left. He had an easy head from the cross and stuck it into the net leaving Kello no chance. It was 1-1 after 58 minutes and Rangers now had the chance to go on and win the game.
Hearts weren't finished yet though and McGregor again had to make a superb save from a David Obua shot. McGregor done well to tip the ball over the bar after Obua shot from the edge of the box.
Sasa Papac, having set up the Rangers goal, had a great chance to give Rangers the lead. He got the ball inside the box on the left, it looked like he had plenty of time to control and fire it in but he took the chance first time and his shot was tame and trickled into the arms of Kello.
The game finished 1-1 which was probably a fair reflection overall. Hearts had the better of the first half, and Rangers the second. Personally I think Rangers need to bring in another midfielder. I don't think McCulloch and Edu are the right players to take us through the season.
We definitely need another striker as well. Jelavic can't do it all himself. I think David Goodwillie would be a good foil for him myself but will Rangers splash the cash to bring him in?
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