Report: Hearts 0 Rangers 2
Rangers continued their impressive away record this season with a fine 2-0 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle this afternoon. The victory means that Rangers have now won all six of their away games this season. It is their home record that is letting them down with two games drawn at Ibrox, but the light blues are still unbeaten overall.
Never mind fortress Ibrox, it's fortress travels. Six played, six won, fourteen goals scored, NONE conceded. In actual fact Rangers have only conceded four overall this season in the league. Ally McCoist may have blew it in Europe and is out of the league cup but his league record cannot be faulted, and at the end of the day it's the league that is most important.
Anyway, on to the game, and we knew it would be a tough game after Hearts beat Celtic here earlier in the month. Not to mention they took a point from Ibrox in the first day of the season way back in July.
Nikica Jelavic dropped out of the starting line-up due to a virus but did make the bench. Kyle Laffery played as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation. McGregor was in goals as usual with a back four of Wallace (appearing against old club Hearts at Tynecastle for the first time), Goian, Bocanegra and Whittaker. The midfield five was made up of Papac on the right, Edu, McCulloch and Davis in the middle, and Naismith on the right.
Hearts dominated possession in the early going, but for all their possession, it was Rangers who were to make the breakthrough in the twentieth minute. Maurice Edu found Steven Whittaker with a pass, and Whittaker ran with the ball before finding Naismith who lost his marker and struck the ball under Kello in the Hearts goal.
Rangers' next chance was in the 35th minute from a Steven Davis corner which found the head of Bocanegra who had his header blocker. The ball rebounded back out to Maurice Edu who fired over the bar. Hearts then put Rangers under a bit of pressure and had three good chances in five minutes. The best of the three chances being a 25 yard shot from Rudi Skacel which was brilliantly saved by Allan McGregor.
Kyle Lafferty had a great chance within seconds of the second half restarting. He was free in the penalty box but fired his shot over the bar. Hearts then pressured Rangers again and had another couple of good chances. Bocanegra cleared one off the line and then Adrian Mrowiec sent a dangerous cross along the Rangers goal but luckily there was no Hearts player on the end of it.
Rangers brought Jelavic on for the last 20 minutes and he had an immediate impact. Bocanegra sent a long ball up field, Jelavic shook off Zaliukas and then sent a diagonal volley into the net past Kello to effectively secure all three points. Not bad for a guy suffering from a virus.
McGregor was called into action just after the goal and made a wonderful double save but that was the last of any real danger from Hearts and Rangers managed to see the game out for the 2-0 victory.
Rangers are now nine points clear at the top of table ahead of nearest challengers Motherwell. They are TEN ahead of old firm rivals although Celtic do have a game in hand and could reduce it to seven.
Next up for Rangers is another away game, which on this kind of form is good news really. Although it is at Pittodrie, and we all know how tough that will be with Aberdeen always raising their game against us.
Hearts v Rangers Match Stats