First team

Match Report: Rangers 2-1 Hearts

29 October 2023

Hearts were defeated 2-1 at Ibrox on Sunday afternoon as late strikes from James Tavernier and Danilo saw Rangers take all three points.


Steven Naismith made three changes from the side that faced Celtic last weekend as Cammy Devlin, Alan Forrest and the ineligible Alex Lowry were replaced by Odel Offiah, Beni Baningime and Jorge Grant.


The Jambos switched to a back three for the trip to Govan, with an eye for wingbacks Alex Cochrane and Offiah getting forward whenever possible.


That tactic led to the opening goal as the men in maroon stunned Ibrox after just five minutes.


It had been a confident start from Hearts, who were moving the ball around nicely and when the ball was worked wide to Alex Cochrane, his deep cross picked out Lawrence Shankland. 


It was intelligent play from the Hearts number nine, who managed to peel off the Gers centre backs and on to Ridvan Yilmaz, before leaping above the Gers full back and looping his header back across goal and into the corner of the net.


Up the other end, Rangers were racking up the corners and almost equalised on 27 minutes. Connor Goldson’s header was diverted in front of goal by Cyriel Dessers and with Zander Clark beaten, Shankland was on hand to clear the ball off the line.


The Jambos were still playing some good football when they got the chance and Kenneth Vargas squandered a big opportunity to double the lead on 33 minutes. Shankland this time turned provider but, on his left-foot, the Costa Rican sliced his effort wide.


Just when it looked like the Jambos were going to head down the tunnel with the half-time lead, referee John Beaton pointed to the spot in first half stoppage time as Toby Sibbick was adjudged to have fouled Todd Cantwell in the box.


Gers skipper James Tavernier stepped up, but his effort came back off the post.


Half-time: Rangers 0-1 Hearts


As expected, the home side came flying out the traps in the second half in search of an equaliser. The best chance fell to Sam Lammers ten minutes after the interval. The ball was crossed in low from the left, but Lammers couldn’t divert the ball home at the front post from close range.


Hearts had weathered the Rangers storm and were continuing to pose a threat up the other end. Lawrence Shankland’s teasing cross from the right was begging to be tapped home but there were no takers waiting in maroon.


The Jambos were edging closer to the full-time whistle but on 88 minutes, Rangers were awarded their second spot kick of the afternoon. Peter Haring was adjudged to have tugged a blue shirt in the penalty box and after a VAR review, Tavernier stepped up to restore parity.


Ibrox received a huge lift just seconds later when nine minutes of stoppage time was announced around the stadium and when Tavernier’s deep cross from the right found Danilo, the striker headed past Zander Clark to snatch all three points for the Gers.


Rangers: Butland, Tavernier ©, Yilmaz, Lundstram, Goldson, Dessers (Danilo, 46), Cantwell (McCausland, 76), Lammers (Jack, 83), Sima, Davies, Raskin (Wright, 64)


Subs: McRorie, Souttar, Jack, Cifuentes, Dowell, Wright, Devine, McCausland, Danilo


Hearts: Clark, Kent, Baningime (Devlin, 60), Grant (Forrest, 60), Nieuwenhof, Shankland ©, Rowles, Cochrane, Sibbick, Offiah (Kingsley, 38), Vargas


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


Attendance: 49,503