Match Reports

Hearts 4-1 Rangers

1st February 2017

Unstoppable Hearts put four past Rangers.

 

Hearts cruised to a 4-1 victory against Rangers under the Tynecastle floodlights.

Krystian Nowak gave the Jambos an early lead but the visitors struck back through Emerson Hyndman. A second-half blitz saw Don Cowie and a Jamie Walker double seal the win in style.

Ian Cathro made three changes to the side that lost out at Celtic Park four days ago. Struna returned from injury to replace Liam Smith, long-term absentee John Souttar missed out and Nowak came in, while Isma Goncalves was handed his debut for Sam Nicholson.

The Jambos got off to a flying start, opening the scoring in three minutes. Perry Kitchen’s quick free-kick down the line allowed Struna to float a ball into the box for Nowak to leap highest and power a header into the opposite corner of the net.

Three minutes later it was nearly 2-0. Malaury Martin drilled a free-kick low from 20-yards that flew past everyone inside the box and narrowly beyond Wes Foderingham’s left-hand post.

Martin went close again in the 9th minute, after Isma was bundled to the ground by Clint Hill on the edge of the box. The Frenchman stepped up and curled an effort inches wide of the target.

Jack Hamilton had to be alert in the 15th minute when Martyn Waghorn cut inside from the left to fire a low shot on target, but the Hearts no.1 did well to beat the ball away.

A brace of long-range Kitchen efforts saw the skipper fire wide and over respectively, as Hearts were dominating proceedings by the 23rd minute.

There was a real heart in mouth moment when Nowak erroneously passed back to Waghorn inside the box, but Hamilton did well to close the angle and make a block on the byline.

Rangers were starting to come back into the game by the half-hour mark, with Barrie McKay’s swerving shot from the edge of the box dipping past Hamilton’s left-hand post.

Disaster struck in the 35th minute when Rangers equalised. James Tavernier’s corner was punched to the middle of the box but Hyndman was on hand to lash home high into the roof of the net.

The visitors went close again before the half was out when Hyndman managed to hold off Aaron Hughes inside the box to pull off a shot, but Hamilton tipped the ball over the bar.

Just like the beginning of the game, Hearts started the second-half with a bang. Walker robbed Halliday of possession 25-yards out and carried it forward a few yards before blasting low beyond Hamilton to give the men in maroon the lead.

It was 3-1 after 54 minutes. A quick free-kick sent Bjorn Johnsen free down the left, he cut inside and drilled across the six-yard box for Cowie to tap into an empty net.

Hearts were playing with their tails up again, with substitute Alex Tziolis looping a cross into the box for Walker to hit a spectacular volley, only to see the ball spin wide.

By the 63rd minute Hearts had scored their fourth. Cowie’s high cross into the box was misjudged by Foderingham – under pressure from Johnsen – and the ball fell perfectly for Walker to knock home for his brace.

Incredibly, it could’ve been 5-1 four minutes later. Walker bore down on goal and looked set to the pull the trigger but Tavernier pulled off a great last-ditch tackle to send the ball behind.

Rangers had the ball in the back of the net when substitute Harry Forrester bundled over the line after Hamilton had saved from Jason Holt, but the Rangers man was flagged offside.

Walker was close to grabbing a hat-trick in the 78th minute with a stunning free-kick, but Foderingham flung himself across his goals to stop the winger’s curling effort.

From the resultant corner the ball broke to Lennard Sowah 30-yards out and the left-back’s thunderbolt was superbly tipped over the bar by Foderingham.

Hearts: Hamilton, Struna, Hughes, Nowak (Avlonitis, 70'), Sowah, Kitchen, Cowie, Martin (Tziolis, 55'), Walker, Goncalves, Johnsen (Nicholson, 64'). Subs: Noring, L.Smith, Beith, Choulay. 

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Hill, Kiernan, Wallace, Toral (Holt, 70'), Miller, McKay, Halliday, Hyndman (Windass, 60'), Waghorn (Forrester, 60'). Subs: Alnwick, Dodoo, Hodson, Senderos.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Top Man: Don Cowie