London Hearts Supporters Club

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Joe Jordan <-auth James Traynor auth-> DD Hope
[A McCoist 25]
2 of 002 ----- LC H

McCoist strikes back with winner

james traynor

5 Sep 1991

Hearts 0, Rangers 1

RANGERS returned last night to Tynecastle, where they had lost a league match a few weeks ago, and this time they meant business.

They have become attached to the Skol Cup in recent times and they were not about to be jettisoned at the quarter-final stage.

They weathered some serious Hearts pressure, particularly in the first half, but their one goal was enough to see them safely through a difficult evening.

And who do they have to thank for their victory? A striker by the name of Ally McCoist, who was given the nod and allowed to play from the start for the first time this season.

McCoist may have been held in reserve for a long time, as far back as last season, in fact, but he proved he still knows where the opposition's goal is to be found.

He put the ball there in the first half, and Hearts never recovered.

The striker's contribution would certainly have pleased Scotland's manager, Andy Roxburgh, who confessed to concern about the player's fitness before and after having named him in the squad which will travel to Berne on Sunday.

McCoist pressed his claim for another cap as only he can.

He went off midway in the second half, but he can only have benefited from his start.

If he plays against Falkirk on Saturday, and happens to score again, his place against Switzerland probably will be assured.

McCoist might have heaved a sigh of relief when he was taken off, because the tie was degenerating into something ugly and it was a surprise that only Hearts' Baird, and Millar, who was pulled up late in the game, were booked.

The Tynecastle side's failure to smother the menace of McCoist led them to their first defeat this season, and the look on the players' faces as they left the field at the end suggested it was not a pleasant experience.

It might have been his excitement at being allowed out to play from the start or it could have been a measure of the ferocity of Hearts' opening bursts, but McCoist was first seen in the right full back position.

Then he switched, but only to a left defensive role.

Soon, however, he was up front where he belongs, playing alongside Hateley and Johnston, and McCoist's presence there would prove to be rewarding midway in the first half.

But the first near thing was a powerful long-range shot from McPherson as Hearts chased a quick goal.

The big defender's shot dropped over the bar, and a little later the ball again was put over the same bar, but this time it was sent there by Stevens.

The defender had to dispense with subtlety for expediency as Hearts bore down again.

The instigator of this attack was Ferguson, but not their own.

It was the Rangers midfield player who allowed a pass to go astray and Hearts almost took severe advantage.

Such errors would not have gone unnoticed by Roxburgh from his vantage point in the stand.

The Hearts member of the clan started his evening much better and his work had about it a more polished look.

He was prompting and directing.

At the opposite end, McCoist had a free header, but nodded the ball wide.

He threw back his head in disgust, but in 25 minutes he was galloping off in celebration.

The ball was shuttled his way by Robertson and then Hateley, and McCoist did the rest.

He took control 12 yards or so out, looked up and thumped the ball beyond Smith and into the net.

The half-time whistle came just as the tackles were beginning to become, shall we say, solid.

Rangers appeared to be gaining a hold in midfield and one of the players responsible for that, McCall, almost gave them a second goal with a vicious shot from 20 yards.

The ball thundered just wide of Smith's right-hand post.

Rangers took off McCoist in 61 minutes and sent on Huistra.

The play needed fresh life, but Baird was much too animated when he tangled with Nisbet and became the first player to be booked.

The Ibrox side were anxious to score the goal which would drain the remainder of Hearts' resistance, and they almost did so when Huistra delivered a corner from the left.

The ball was headed on by Hateley, but Nisbet headed over the bar even though it looked easier to score.

In an attempt to impose themselves, Hearts took off Robertson, who had been anonymous, and sent on Penney.

HEARTS -- Smith, Hogg, McKinlay, Levein, Mackay, McPherson, Crabbe, Ferguson, Baird, Millar, Robertson.

Substitutes -- Penney, Wright.

RANGERS -- Goram, Stevens, Robertson, Gough, Spackman, Nisbet, McCall, Ferguson, Hateley, Johnston, McCoist.

Substitutes -- Huistra, Mikhailichenko.

Referee -- D Hope (Erskine).

Taken from the Herald

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