First team

Match Report: Hearts 1-3 Rangers

05 November 2023

Hearts were defeated 3-1 by Rangers in the Viaplay Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park on Sunday.


After a goalless first half, Rangers scored three goals in quick succession at the start of the second 45 to book their place in the final.


Steven Naismith made four changes from the midweek victory over Livingston. Toby Sibbick, Jorge Grant, Calem Nieuwenhof and Kenneth Vargas came into the side as Alan Forrest, Cammy Devlin, Liam Boyce and the ineligible Alex Lowry dropped out.


It was a cagey opening 15 minutes with neither side willing to leave themselves exposed to a counter attack in the early stages. 


Lawrence Shankland had the first effort on goal but although it went through the legs of Connor Goldson, it was a routine save for Jack Butland in the Gers goal.


Up the other end, Rangers began to turn the screw with Danilo looking threatening. The number 99 had two quick-fire opportunities after 12 minutes. His first effort was high and wide, but he came a little closer three minutes later, after a neat move involving Todd Cantwell, but again, Zander Clark was untroubled.


The Hearts stopper would be called into action soon enough however as Cantwell sprung the offside trap on 26 minutes and forced a good stop down low from Clark.


Abdallah Sima was next to go close for the Gers when heading wide Borna Barisic’s corner.


Half-time: Hearts 0-0 Rangers


After an even first half, Rangers took the lead from the penalty spot. Clark was adjudged to have brought down Danilo and James Tavernier stepped up to open the scoring four minutes into the second half.


That goal seemed to spark the Jambos into life, and they almost levelled the scores on 53 minutes. Jorge Grant’s corner was perfect for Frankie Kent, the centre back did everything right, but was denied by a strong hand from Butland.


Hearts would live to rue that missed chance just seconds later as Rangers doubled their lead. Danilo picked out Scott Wright and his low right-foot shot found the bottom corner.


The men in maroon continued to create opportunities of their own up the other end and Stephen Kingsley must’ve thought he had halved the deficit on 57 minutes, but again, Butland kept Hearts out, leaping to his right to tip the Hearts defender's curling effort on to the roof of the net.


The third goal arrived just after the hour mark as Tavernier curled home a free kick from the edge of the box.


To their credit, the men in maroon kept fighting and there was confusion twelve minutes from time when Kingsley was shown a second yellow card for simulation in the penalty box.

However, after a VAR Review, referee Nick Walsh was advised to overturn his original decision and Hearts were awarded a spotkick. Shankland stepped up and sent Butland the wrong way to pull one back.


The men in maroon pushed bodies forward in numbers in the closing stages, but they couldn’t find another goal as Rangers saw the remainder of the game out to book their place in the final.


Hearts: Clark, Kent, Kingsley, Baningime (Devlin, 73), Grant (Oda, 61), Nieuwenhof, (Denholm, 86), Shankland ©, Rowles, Cochrane, Sibbick (Forrest., 61), Vargas (Boyce, 73)


Subs: McGovern, Haring, Boyce, Oda, Devlin, Halliday, Forrest, Denholm, Forrester


Rangers: Butland, Tavernier ©, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic, Jack, Lundstram, Lammers, Cantwell, Sima, Danilo


Subs: McCrorie, Ridvan, Dessers, Lawrence, Cifuentes, Sterling, Wright, Davies, McCausland