London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 21 Apr 2007 Rangers 2 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Anatoly Korobochka <-auth Lisa Gray auth-> Iain Brines
[G Rae 52] ;[B Ferguson 78]
2 of 002 Andrius Velicka 15 L SPL A

Rangers 2 Hearts 1

By Lisa Gray, PA Sport

Rangers avoided sparking an early title party for Celtic when they fought back from behind to secure a 2-1 win over Hearts in the Bank of Scotland Premier League.

Defeat at Ibrox would have seen Celtic crowned champions before even kicking a ball this weekend. They now need a win at Kilmarnock tomorrow to confirm their status as SPL winners.

Rangers fell behind to Andrius Velicka's first-half opener but goals from Gavin Rae and Barry Ferguson after the break ensured the champagne remained on ice for the champions-elect for now.

Rangers had yet to lose a league match since Walter Smith's return to the Ibrox helm in January but Hearts were one of two teams who had taken a point from the Govan side.

With a Champions League spot for next season still up for grabs, Rangers were determined to keep their run going but Smith was under no illusions about the size of task which faced his players today.

And the three changes he made from their last outing, the 1-0 victory over St Mirren, were largely enforced due to suspensions and illness.

Charlie Adam and Nacho Novo were both banned, while Chris Burke missed out after suffering from tonsilitis earlier in the week.

That meant Rae, Dado Prso and Kevin Thomson were all drafted into the top team for the visit of the Tynecastle side.

Hearts also made three chages following their win over Kilmarnock. In came Marius Zaliukas, Michal Pospisil and Lee Wallace; out went Tomas Kancelskis, Bruno Aguiar and the suspended Jose Goncalves.

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon produced a great save in the opening minutes to deny Alan Hutton at the near post but the offside flag was raised anyway.

Rangers then had another decent chance when Prso set up Kris Boyd for the shot but his effort came off a maroon jersey in the crowded goalmouth.

The rebound fell to Prso but Gordon was again up to the task to block the close-range shot.

It was Hearts who took the lead after 16 minutes when Laryea Kingston embarked on a 50-yard run before feeding the ball to Velicka, who swept home from just inside the box.

At the other end, Rangers claimed for a penalty when Prso went to ground under pressure from Christophe Berra but the pleas were ignored by referee Iain Brines.

Rangers continued to push forward in search of the equaliser and only a superb save from Gordon prevented Sasa Papac's header from hitting the top right hand corner of the net.

Papac appeared to land awkwardly and was carried off on a stretcher five minutes before the break, with Ian Murray taking his place at left-back.

Rangers enjoyed the best possible start to the second half when they hauled themselves back onto level terms six minutes after the restart.

Hutton skipped past the immobile Wallace on the right flank before floating the ball onto the head of Rae, who did well to nod past Gordon from the six-yard line.

Hearts then made their first change of the day when goalscorer Velicka was withdrawn for Calum Elliot.

The Jambos were keen to restore their lead but Kingston was unsuccessful in aiding their cause when he screwed wide of target from just outside the box.

Instead, it was Rangers who almost had the net bulging again, with Ferguson not too far away with a point-blank header from Rae's cross.

While Hearts seemed happy to settle for the draw, Rangers pushed forward in search of the winner and were rewarded for their hard work with 78 minutes gone.

Prso's cross from the by-line was met by the head of Brahim Hemdani, who nodded into the path of Ferguson 12 yards out.

The finish from the skipper was sublime; his left-footed volley hooked high into the net, leaving Gordon with no chance.


Rangers McGregor, Hutton, Weir, Ehiogu, Papac (Murray 41),Rae, Ferguson, Hemdani, Thomson, Prso, Boyd.

Subs Not Used: Klos, Sionko, Svensson, Lennon, McMillan,


Booked: Weir.

Goals: Rae 52, Ferguson 79.

Hearts Gordon, Karipidis, Zaliukas, Berra, Wallace,Ivaskevicius (Mikoliunas 82), Kingston, Brellier, Driver,Velicka (Elliot 57), Pospisil (Aguiar 74).

Subs Not Used: Kurskis, Tall, McCann, Kancelsku.

Booked: Zaliukas, Ivaskevicius, Pospisil, Kingston, Berra.

Goals: Velicka 16.

Att: 50,099

Ref: I Brines (Scotland).

Taken from

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