Heart of Midlothian 1-1 Rangers
Sunday 20th October 2019, KO 12:15 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Tynecastle Park
Hearts and Rangers played out a 1-1 draw in a frantic Ladbrokes Premiership match at Tynecastle Park.
The Jam Tarts started like a freight train and took a sixth-minute lead through Ryotaro Meshino, but were eventually pegged back by Alfredo Morelos’ close-range finish.
Craig Levein made three changes from the side that played Kilmarnock prior to the international break.
Uche Ikpeazu returned from injury to lead the line, Ollie Bozanic slotted into midfield with Aidy White handed a place in defence, while Clevid Dikamona and Andy Irving moved to bench and Loic Damour missed out through injury.
The Jambos came flying out the traps and were denied a second-minute opener by the woodwork. After spraying the ball around deep inside the Rangers half, Clare delivered from the right for Ikpeazu to cannon a header that had Allan McGregor beaten, but not the crossbar.
With six minutes gone, Hearts deservedly took the lead. James Tavernier went to head Ikpeazu’s flick-on back to his goalkeeper but completely missed, allowing Jake Mulraney to nip into the box and although his shot was well blocked by McGregor, Meshino lifted the loose ball over the Gers keeper and into the back of the net.
What followed was a thunderous game of football, mainly played in the middle of the park with neither side carving the other open. When one did threaten to break through, a foul inevitably followed.
The visitors went close to restoring parity just after the half hour mark. Tavernier hit a pinpoint corner to the unmarked Steven Davis at the edge of the box and his diving header, incredibly, flew through a cluster of bodies and inches wide of Joel Pereira’s left-hand post.
On 39 minutes, they got the equaliser. Nikola Katic’s flick-on from Borna Barisic’s corner found the unmarked Morelos, who stabbed the ball beyond Pereira from six-yards out.
The second half action picked up exactly from where it had left off in the first; 90 miles an hour, full-blooded challenges but little in the way of goalmouth chances. The Jambos lost the services of White only four minutes after the restart, and he was replaced by Jamie Brandon.
Substitute Ryan Kent nearly made an instant impact, minutes after being subbed on after just after the hour mark, darting inside before pulling the trigger from distance but his effort flew well wide of the target.
Connor Goldson’s bullet header with ten minutes remaining forced a good block from Pereira on his line, but the flag immediately went up for offside.
The men in maroon had a half chance to grab all three points deep into injury time when Christophe Berra got on the end of Bozanic’s long throw but his header was safely gathered by McGregor.
Hearts: Pereira, Smith, White (Brandon, 49'), Berra, Bozanic, Clare, Mulraney (Irving, 80'), Whelan, Ikpeazu, Hickey, Meshino (MacLean, 77'). Subs: Doyle, Dikamona, Keena, Henderson.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Davis, Ojo (Kent, 62'), Aribo, Kamara, Katic, Morelos (Defoe, 81'), Barisic, Arfield (Stewart, 75'). Subs: Foderingham, Helander, Halliday, Polster.
Referee: Kevin Clancy