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Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Hearts Media auth-> Iain Brines
Jonsson Eggert [K Lafferty 53] ;[K Miller pen 84]
2 of 005 -----L SPL A

Good start but Rangers see it through

From Hearts News at Ibrox Stadium

There was never going to be a title party at Ibrox today due to the weekend's other results however a 2-0 win for Rangers ensured they are still on their way to re-claiming the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

Hearts made two changes to the side which beat Kilmarnock last week. Christian Nade dropped out and Andy Driver missed out due to injury. Ismael Bouzid and Craig Thomson come back into the starting line-up, whilst Captain Michael Stewart made his return from injury with a place on the bench.

The first real chance of the game came in the fifth minute when Bougherra crossed a ball in from the left, it was curling towards goal but Jamie MacDonald was alert to tip it over the bar.

As the game settled Hearts were creating chances, their first real opportunity coming in the 13th minute. Craig Thomson had the ball out on the right and floated it into the box to the head of Suso, he headed towards goal but was wide of target.

Rangers came close to opening the scoring in the 18th minute when a corner in fell to Lee McCulloch, he shot towards goal but Larry Kingston was on the line to clear any danger.

Hearts had some good half-chances in the first half, 21 minutes in Wallace passed a good ball to Suso down the left; he ran into the box but was dispossessed before he could square it to David Obua who was free at the back post.

Just a couple minutes later Craig Thomson broke down the right, retrospectively he should have crossed the ball across the box first time to David Obua who again was in position at the back post, but he took a touch which gave Alan McGregor the chance to block the ball as it came in.

The game was fairly open and as the first half progressed Hearts were settling into the match and putting together some good passing movements, they just couldn't get the finishing ball.

In the 38th minute good play from Kenny Miller almost led to the first goal. The Rangers striker got the ball on the right and skipped past a Hearts defender before crossing into the box, the ball was cleared but a minute later it was back in the danger area and Lee McCulloch had a shot blocked, the Rangers players and fans were screaming for hand ball but referee Iain Brines waved play on.

Rangers again came close right before half-time. Bougherra swung a brilliant ball in from the far right to the hand of Kyle Lafferty at the back post, it appeared he just had to nod the ball into the net but he sent it wide.

Larry Kingston got booked early in the second half for pulling back Kenny Miller as he broke towards goal. From the resulting free kick Miller headed towards the top right hand corner of the goal, the ball looked like it was heading for the net but Jamie MacDonald produced a brilliant save to tip it round the post.

Hearts were next to almost open the scoring, Bouzid had the ball forty yards out and appeared to be no threat to the Ibrox side but he unleashed a shot which had Alan McGregor chasing back to ensure it went over the bar and it did, but only just.

A minute later, eleven into the second half, the deadlock was broken by Rangers Kyle Lafferty. A corner came in from the right and Lafferty, who was given room at the front post, produced a brilliant header to send it in to the top corner past MacDonald.

In the 73rd minute Rangers came close to doubling their lead. Kevin Thomson had the ball twenty yards out and curled it in towards the top right hand corner, MacDonald was stretching to get it and luckily for Hearts the ball rattled off the bar.

In the 83rd minute the game produced a major talking point when Nacho Novo found himself in space down the left hand side, he crossed the ball into the box for Steven Naismith, who took a tumble under apparent pressure from Eggert Jonsson. The referee awarded a penalty and sent the Icelandic international off. Kenny Miller stepped up to take it and doubled Rangers lead.

Hearts had their first shot on target in the 90th minute when Palazuelos broke through the middle, he did well to keep possession but his shot was a weak effort and easily held by McGregor.

Rangers: McGregor, Papac, Bougherra, Weir, Whittaker, Davis, Thomson, McCulloch, Lafferty (Naismith, 68), Boyd (Novo, 78), Miller Subs not used: Alexander, Edu, Fleck, Little, Wilson

Hearts: MacDonald; Jonsson, Bouzid, Zaliukas, Wallace; C Thomson (Robinson, 6), Kingston (Stewart, 74), Black, Palazuelos; Obua, Suso (Templeton, 82). Subs not used: Ridgers, Stevenson, Thomson, Elliot.

Referee: Iain Brines

Top man: Ruben Palazuelos

Hearts World

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