Craig Levein admitted the loss of Jamie Walker proved crucial for Hearts as Rangers left BT Murrayfield with all three points following a 3-1 victory in front of almost 33,000 spectators.
Kyle Lafferty’s outstanding free-kick put Hearts in front in the first half, but two goals from Kenny Miller and a third from Josh Windass - the second two coming after Walker’s injury - earned the Gers the win.
After the match, Craig stated that Jamie’s importance to the system was crucial, and that the lack of players available due to an injury crisis simply left them unable to cope.
“I’m happy at a lot of the things we did in the first half, and for the first hour in general. The tail end of the game wasn’t good at all. I thought Kyle’s free kick was excellent, and we should have another goal or two to go along with it.
“Once Jamie Walker went off, the whole system just fell apart and I put it solely down to that. We need Jamie to make that particular system work, and as we were already short in midfield, it made it even more difficult for us.”
Confirming that Jamie would be out for at least the next few weeks, the manager confessed he would have to use players out of position, and ruled out that he wouldn’t be exploring the free agent market as he hoped to have a full squad again within a couple of weeks.
“Jamie has a hamstring injury, the damage of which I don’t yet know the extent,” he explained. “He’ll definitely be out for the next couple of weeks, at least. I haven’t considered looking at the free agent market, though.
“In a few weeks we’ll have all the players back, so there’s no point signing an out of contract player that will take a month to gain match fitness. We’ll just have to play players out of position in the meantime, and try to make us difficult to beat.”