Hearts battled to a 0-0 draw against Rangers at Ibrox today.
The Jambos put in a spirited performance that saw them spend a lot of the second half under the cosh, but the men in maroon stood firm to gain a point.
Interim head coach Jon Daly made one change from the side that defeated Kilmarnock last week; Jamie Walker returned to the starting line up to replace Rafal Grzelak, who moved to the bench.
Hearts enjoyed the majority of possession in the game’s opening stages but it was the hosts who created the first decent chance after eight minutes. Josh Windass’ delightful chip at the edge of the box found Lee Wallace who cut back for Kenny Miller but Christophe’s Berra’s tremendous last-ditch sliding tackle cleared the danger.
Rangers had the woodwork to thank for keeping the scores level after 17 minutes. John Souttar bound out from defence and from all of 35-yards unleashed a rocket shot that beat Wes Foderingham but crashed back off the cross bar into the path off Kyle Lafferty, who curled an effort wide from outside the box.
The home side passed up a good chance of their own in the 36th minute. A deep corner found the unmarked Alfredo Morelos who nodded across the six-yard box for Bruno Alves to connect, but Michael Smith popped up in the line to deny the Portuguese international a goal.
Jack Hamilton came to the rescue with three minutes remaining of the half. A ball into the Hearts box found Miller who took a touch before hitting a shot on goal that the Jambos ‘keeper did well to turn away with his left leg.
A quick counter-attack early in the second half presented Hearts with a half chance. Don Cowie’s long clearance went over the top of the Rangers defence and allowed Isma to run on to it, but he couldn’t keep the ball under control at the crucial moment and was forced into the centre of the box and his shot was blocked.
Prince Buaben and Krystian Nowak were introduced to the action just after the hour mark in the place of Conor Randall and Jamie Walker as Hearts looked to stop the Rangers bombardment in the middle of the park.
Rangers were by far the dominant side as the game entered the final 20 minutes, constantly peppering the Hearts box with crosses. A wayward 73rd minute pass from Jamie Brandon saw the ball fall to substitiute Niko Kranjcar but his curling effort was easily saved by Hamilton.
Moments later Morelos drilled the ball across the face of goal but there were no takers at the other end.
The home side could’ve taken the lead with ten minutes remaining when a ball across the face of goal was missed by Nowak and into the path of Hardie who tried to curl it into the top corner, but a deflection took it way from goal.
Rangers continued to pile on the pressure but they couldn’t find a way past the solid Hearts defence, and the Gorgie boys travel back along the M8 with a point in their back pockets.
Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Cardoso, Wallace, Jack, Miller, Dorrans (Hardie, 72'), Windass (Kranjcar, 52'), Morelos, Candeias, Alves. Subs: Alnwick, Wilson, Hodson, Rossiter, Pena.
Hearts: Hamilton, M.Smith, Souttar, Berra, Brandon (Grzelak, 76'), Walker (Nowak, 63'), Randall (Buaben, 63'), Djoum, Cowie, Lafferty, Isma. Subs: Noring, Hughes, Zanatta, Stockton.
Referee: Willie Collum