Hearts 0 Rangers 4
Chief Grouser finds little to complain at .
You tend not to enter into competitive football games against Rangers entirely confident of victory, so after half-an-hour. s huffing and puffing following the final whistle, there wasn. t really a lot to complain about. As Jefferies said, this is the best Rangers team we. ve seen for a long time. Their low-risk strategy of patience allied to superb passing and movement off the ball made this men-against-boys stuff. It was like watching Charlton play Chelsea. Oh sure, some team this year will catch them after a European tie, go at them, stick the boot in and get a draw, maybe a win, but for the minute Advocaat has assembled a very smart bunch of non-British professionals who are efficient and occasionally deadly. Even their lesser lights like Adamcuk and really bad players like Craig Moore slotted in to their place and played well. Barry Ferguson looked out of place, but he won. t last long. I. m not even sure McCann would have made Rangers better: if anything, as when he played for Hearts, he. d have unbalanced them.
The game might have gone very differently, but it. s difficult to see how. Quick passing through the center between Mols and Reyna caught Grant Murray two mental yards off the pace, and Reyna raced through the buried it in the way good strikers find it so easy to do. Had Hearts equalised when Adam powered a header towards goal from a Kevin James flick-on, instead of Klos producing the save of the season to tip it past the post . well, who knows? The game might have changed at 1-1, or Rangers might have just gone on and won 4-1. Even at 0-1 there was hope, but it was destroyed on the stroke of half-time when heavy Hearts pressure, based on careful (if not quick) passing was broken down, and again Rangers tore upfield, Mols took Murray apart once more and blistered the ball into the far corner. Game over, no mistake. Numbers three and four happened in the second half, as they were bound to.
So why did Hearts lose, and lose heavily? We tried to play Rangers at football, that. s why, because that. s the only way we know. And you sensed that even the most hunnish of their fans was impressed with the quality. It was like watching Chelsea play Charlton. Rangers are now confident enough in their own abilities not to need to make the game too physical. Perhaps one of the lesser teams will try and knock them off their stride, go at them hard and dirty . but it. s difficult to see that tactic succeeding (unless Rangers are caught tired after one of their European ties) especially as referees will card anyone who tries some rough stuff on fancy-Dan Continentals like Mols.
So Hearts did the right thing. We had to put up with it. There was no point in going out in the second half and trying to get stuck in . the last thing we want is to injure Rangers players who. ll be out for ten games and return just in time to stuff us again, and getting stupid suspensions in games that don. t matter. And anyway, we don. t have any hammer-throwers in the side. Hearts are a footballing side, and quite impressive in their way. If we continue to play against lesser sides as we did in the first half of this match, we. ll win those games. Surprisingly in a game lost 4-0, Pressley was magnificent, and Cameron, Flogel, Jackson and Severin were decent. The absence of McSwegan made Adam. s job a lot harder: it might have been better then to put Jackson back to midfield and tell Fulton to fuck off. There. s nothing more to come from Fulton, I. m afraid: he neither attacks nor defends.
So Hearts have a week to get themselves focussed. It won. t be hard.