Rangers 5-0 Heart of Midlothian
Sunday 1st December 2019, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Ibrox
Hearts suffered defeat against Rangers in today’s Ladbrokes Premiership encounter at Ibrox.
A pair of goals the first half, from Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent, put the hosts up at the break, before a late second half onslaught, via a Christophe Berra own goal, and a Greg Stewart double, won the three points for the Gers, despite some encouraging play in parts from the Jambos.
Austin MacPhee made two changes from the side that lost last week at Rugby Park, with Michael Smith and Clevid Dikamona dropping out of the side, with Jamie Brandon returning along with a welcome appearance from Craig Halkett following two months out through injury.
Despite a bright opening from the Jambos, the home side took the lead with their first effort on goal. After conceding possession on the halfway line, the ball was worked wide to Borna Barisic by Ryan Kent, and the Croatian stood a cross up to the back post where Alfredo Morelos powered a header low past Joel Pereira.
Rangers continued to press without much reward as Hearts attempted to keep a strong bank of five in defence, but it was nearly breached again just before the half hour mark, when James Tavernier whipped an early ball in for Morelos who miscontrolled the slightly before drawing out a decent save from Pereira.
Hearts then came agonisingly close to levelling after some brilliant play from Brandon, who collected the ball from a long throw and drove into the box, hitting the byline and cutting it back for Ikpeazu who diverted a shot narrowly past the post as the men in maroon started to come into the game. But they would live to rue that miss, when Rangers immediately doubled their lead.
Joe Aribo beat the offside trap after being slipped through by a pass from Davis, and he took the ball to the byline before finding Ryan Kent with a cut back, and the winger diverted the ball past Pereira to make it two eight minutes before the half time interval.
After a slightly subdued start to the second half, Hearts did begin to look dangerous on the counter and Ikpeazu came close to meeting a Steven Naismith cross before keeper Allan McGregor clutched the ball, while at the other end, Kent played in Morelos but the Colombian blasted his shot high and wide after pressure from Aaron Hickey.
The third goal did come just after the hour, however, when Tavernier was played in down the right wing and fired the ball across the face of goal, only for Christophe Berra to divert the ball into his own net past Pereira.
The home side then put a seal on their victory with a fourth goal ten minutes from time. Sheyi Ojo robbed Hickey, who took a bad knock, and cut in toward goal. Pereira saved his shot but the rebound fell to substitute Greg Stewart who passed it into an empty net.
With five minutes remaining Stewart scored a second. Jermain Defoe found room in the area and his shot was pushed out to Stewart whose header was initially saved by Pereira, but the ball spun off the keeper and into the net, with Defoe trying to make sure despite the ball crossing the line to end the scoring on a bad day in Govan for the Jambos.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Helander, Goldson, Davis, Kent (Ojo, 66'), Aribo, Kamara (Stewart, 74'), Morelos (Defoe, 66'), Barisic, Arfield. Subs: Foderingham, Jack, Flanagan, Katic.
Hearts: Pereira, White (Mulraney, 77'), Berra, Bozanic, Walker (Damour, 70'), Whelan, Naismith, Ikpeazu (Meshino, 70'), Brandon, Halkett, Hickey. Subs: Zlamal, Clare, MacLean, Irving.
Referee: Don Robertson