Heart of Midlothian 1-2 Rangers
Sunday 2nd December 2018, KO 12:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Tynecastle Park
Hearts were edged out 2-1 at home by Rangers this afternoon in a controversial Ladbrokes Premiership game.
The Jambos had taken a first-half lead thanks to Gareth McAuley’s own goal before Connor Goldson levelled. Then, Alfredo Morelos scored what proved to be the winner but from an offside position, however referee Bobby Madden allowed the goal to stand.
Craig Levein made five changes from the side that lost at St Mirren last week. Christophe Berra returned from a four-month injury lay-off and he was joined in the starting line up by Ollie Bozanic, Demi Mitchell, Harry Cochrane and Marcus Godinho. Craig Wighton, Clevid Dikamona and Callumn Morrison moved to the bench while Jimmy Dunne and Ben Garuccio missed out.
An impressive Allan McGregor save prevented Hearts from taking a ninth-minute lead. Bozanic’s long throw into the box was flicked on by Peter Haring for Steven MacLean to head towards the bottom corner but the Rangers ‘keeper flung himself to his right to palm the ball away.
McGregor was at his best to deny Hearts again after 20 minutes. Bozanic’s cross was cleared only as far as Michael Smith 20-yards out and he lobbed a ball back into the box for Arnaud Djoum to loop a header goalwards, but McGregor sprung to push it over the bar.
The visitors created a half chance a minute later. Mitchell was robbed of possession by Daniel Candeias on the left and he sent cross to the back door for Alfredo Morelos, but Smith got back to divert his first-time effort wide.
The action continued and Hearts were able to quickly break after MacLean headed clear a James Tavernier set piece, with Djoum eventually finding Cochrane 20-yards out at the corner of the box and he curled a first-time shot a few yards wide of McGregor’s left-hand post.
After 27 minutes, Hearts took the lead. Retaining possession at the edge of the Rangers box, Bozanic picked out Godinho on the overlap and his low cross was turned into his own net by the outstretched leg of McAuley.
Bobby Zlamal was called into action after 33 minutes, getting down well at his near post to beat away a Scott Arfield drive.
Rangers nearly equalised moments later when a ball into the box wasn’t cleared and Ovie Ejaria headed over the grounded Zlamal, but Djoum came to rescue, heading off the line.
That warning wasn’t heeded, however, and Rangers got back on level terms a minute later. Zlamal made a good stop from Tavernier’s corner but Goldson was unmarked to bundle the ball home from close range, despite the keeper getting something on it.
Four minutes before half time, the visitors took the lead. Tavernier swung in a free kick that Morelos got to ahead of his man and diverted into the far corner of the net, though replays showed he appeared to do so from an offside position, which two more of his teammates were in.
The frantic pace continued in the second half. Morelos was slipped through into the box but he dragged his shot wide from an angle.
Morelos had another chance to add to his tally after 65 minutes when Rangers broke quickly and Ejaria curled a ball into the back post but the striker slid in and couldn’t hit the target.
Tempers flared in the 70th minute as Rangers were reduced to ten men. First, Candeias broke and forced a good save from Zlamal, who then stopped Morelos’ follow up, but with his hands on the ball and stretched out on the line, Arfield slid in extremely late and collided with the keeper, earning himself a straight red.
Zlamal pulled off another great save in the 78th minute, stopping from Ejaria’s drive at the edge of the box.
The Jambos piled on the pressure in search of that equalising goal but it wasn’t to be as Rangers held on, and the men in maroon were left to rue the decision to award Morelos’ offside, and winning, goal.
Hearts: Zlamal, Smith, Haring, Berra, Bozanic, Clare (Morrison, 77'), Djoum, Mitchell, MacLean, Cochrane (Lee, 70'), Godinho (Dikamona, 65'). Subs: Doyle, Wighton, Hughes, Mulraney.
Rangers: McGregor, Goldson, Ejaria, Halliday, Morelos, Candeias (Lafferty, 86'), Coulibaly (McCrorie, 81'), Grezda (Jack, 65'), McAuley, Arfield. Subs: Foderinghma, Worrall, Flanagan, Middleton.
Referee: Bobby Madden