Hearts went down 2-0 to Rangers at Ibrox this afternoon.
Goals in each half from Rob Kiernan and Barrie McKay sealed the win for the Gers, but it could’ve been a different story had Don Cowie’s 16th minute strike not been disallowed for offside.
New Head Coach Ian Cathro made no changes to the side that drew at Ross County a week ago, as Hearts remained unchanged for the fourth game on the bounce.
The home side enjoyed the stronger start, maintaining possession inside Hearts’ half. McKay’s 13th minute corner was headed out as far as Lee Wallace, and the Gers captain’s 20-yard drive flew inches wide of Jack Hamilton’s right-hand post.
Rangers should’ve taken the lead two minutes later. Wallace’s delightful ball over the top saw Kenny Miller spring the offside trap and he chipped the outrushing Hamilton, but the ball dropped wide of the post.
A moment of controversy then denied Hearts the chance to take the lead. Robbie Muirhead’s low cross was turned towards goal by Bjorn Johnsen but Wes Foderingham pulled off a spectacular save. Arnaud Djoum knocked the rebound back to Callum Paterson who drilled across the six-yard box for Cowie to sweep into the back of the net, but while the men in maroon celebrated the linesman eventually put his flag up for offside and the goal was chalked off.
Johnsen showed some powerful running in the 20th minute to carry the ball deep into enemy territory, and although he was stopped in his tracks Jamie Walker picked up the loose ball to lash an effort from the edge of the box just wide of Foderingham’s left-hand post.
Hamilton was at his best to make a smart block from Wallace at his near post in the 25th minute as the game began to open up a bit more, with Hearts looking dangerous on the break.
The deadlock was broken just before the half hour mark and it was courtesy of the home side. James Tavernier’s free-kick into the middle of the box was met by Kiernan, who rose highest to head into the corner of the net.
Hearts were nearly masters of their own downfall in the 39th minute when Paterson’s short passback saw Hamilton rush off his line to clear, but he was closed down by Joe Garner who made a block and, fortunately, the ball span wide of the empty net.
Six minutes into the restart Rangers doubled their lead. A high ball into the Hearts box was misjudged by the defence and McKay took a touch before shooting low past Hamilton from close range.
A brace of shots from substitute Martyn Waghorn and then Garner flew over the crossbar as Rangers went in search of a third.
A stunning block from Hamilton when one-on-one with Waghorn just about kept Hearts in the game as Conor Sammon joined Tony Watt on the park with Hearts going for broke.
Waghorn again tested Hamilton, skinning Rherras to get into the six-yard box but the Jambos ‘keeper made another fine block at his near post.
Rherras then hit a great ball forward for Johnsen to take down and away from his man and curl an effort towards goal, but he couldn’t find the target and blasted over the bar.
Rangers: Foderingham, Hodson, Wilson, Kiernan, Wallace, Halliday, Holt, Tavernier, Miller (Waghorn, 61'), McKay (Burt, 90'), Garner (Dodoo, 88'). Subs: Gilks, OHalloran, Crooks, Senderos.
Hearts: Hamilton, Paterson, Souttar, Rossi, Rherras, Walker (Watt, 50'), Kitchen, Cowie (L. Smith, 81'), Djoum, Muirhead (Sammon, 69'), Johnsen. Subs: Noring, Ozturk, Oshaniwa, Buaben.
Referee: John Beaton
Top man: Jack Hamilton