Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Rangers 2.
Heart of Midlothian 2-2 Rangers
Two late goals by substitute Genero Zeefuik earned a point for champions Hearts against Rangers, who will have to come through six play-off games if they are to escape the Championship.
Darren McGregor headed the determined visitors in front in 32 minutes and Kenny Miller turned in Rangers' second.
Hearts had a penalty claim refused when keeper Cammy Bell up-ended Osman Sow.
The home side sent on Genero Zeefuik who, with a header and a low strike from six yards, drew his team level.
Even if Zeefuik had not scored that 90th-minute leveller, Rangers would still have been playing Queen of the South in the Premiership play-off quarter-final because Hibernian's 3-0 win at Falkirk meant the Easter Road club clinched second place.
James Fowler's Queens side lost 1-0 at Livingston but they had already secured fourth and they will host Stuart McCall's team at Palmerston next Saturday in the first leg.
With the home fans in party mood, the referee spent most of the first few minutes bursting the maroon balloons that had blown on to the pitch from the packed stands.
Once they had been dealt with, the teams locked horns with the urgency and ferocity that the fans were hoping for.
And it was the home side who should have drawn first blood after 10 minutes. Jamie Walker skipped past a ragged Rangers defence to find himself one on one with Bell, but the goalkeeper did well to block at the youngster's feet.
This was a warning to the visitors that this was a Hearts side determined to finish off the season on a high before lifting the trophy after the final whistle.
Hearts continued to dominate but their determination to break the deadlock resulted in a yellow card for the Swedish striker Sow, who was booked for throwing himself to the floor inside the box.
At this stage, Rangers were limited to launching sporadic attacks but when they did creep over the halfway line, Nicky Law and Haris Vuckic looked lively, the latter coming close just before the half hour but his angled effort could only find the side netting.
Just as Hearts were settling into their own dominance, Rangers took the lead. Nicky Law curled in a free-kick from 25 yards out on the left-hand side and McGregor rose to power home a header high past Scott Gallacher and silence the maroon hordes.
Hearts had another penalty claim involving Sow shortly afterwards. Bell dived at the striker's feet, who again took a tumble, but referee Callum Murray waved play on. Neilson was sent to the stand for his protests.
But as he was taking his seat, Rangers were taking control as they scored a second through Miller.
The striker turned in from six yards out after Richard Foster clipped in a tantalising cross from the right and the 2,000 travelling Rangers fans danced with delight, radios tuned to events elsewhere.
The half-time whistle brought little respite to the Hearts' rage as the players remonstrated with the referee, still furious at his decision not to give them a spot kick.
Walker, Hearts' player of the year, tried to pull them back into it just before the hour but his fierce right-foot effort was, once again, saved by Bell.
At the other end, Marius Zaliukas headed down into the ground from a corner when he should have found the net.
Dutch striker Zeefuik gave Hearts some hope when he headed in his 11th goal of the season with eight minutes to go and then turned in the equaliser from close range with just injury time remaining.
- 14Pallardo GonzalezSubstituted forAndersonat 70'minutes
- 11NicholsonSubstituted forKeatingsat 77'minutes
- 9El HassnaouiSubstituted forZeefuikat 63'minutes
- 20SowBooked at 19mins
- 23FosterSubstituted forMcCullochat 81'minutes
- 10VuckicBooked at 6minsSubstituted forWalshat 81'minutes
- 18MillerSubstituted forBlackat 86'minutes
- Calum Murray
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Rangers 2.
Attempt missed. Ian Black (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Lee McCulloch.
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 2, Rangers 2. Género Zeefuik (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alim Ozturk.
Foul by Género Zeefuik (Heart of Midlothian).
Darren McGregor (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Rangers. Ian Black replaces Kenny Miller.
Foul by Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian).
Tom Walsh (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Kenny Miller (Rangers).
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 1, Rangers 2. Género Zeefuik (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Morgaro Gomis with a cross.
Substitution, Rangers. Tom Walsh replaces Haris Vuckic.
Substitution, Rangers. Lee McCulloch replaces Richard Foster.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. James Keatings replaces Sam Nicholson.
Attempt missed. Marius Zaliukas (Rangers) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left following a set piece situation.
Foul by Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian).
Nicky Clark (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Kenny Anderson (Heart of Midlothian).
Andy Murdoch (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Dean Shiels.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Kenny Anderson replaces Miguel Pallardó.
Marius Zaliukas (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Morgaro Gomis (Heart of Midlothian).
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Género Zeefuik replaces Soufian El Hassnaoui.
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Cammy Bell.
Attempt missed. Kenny Miller (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Attempt saved. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Second Half begins Heart of Midlothian 0, Rangers 2.
First Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 0, Rangers 2.
Foul by Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian).
Nicky Law (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Dean Shiels (Rangers).
Foul by Kevin McHattie (Heart of Midlothian).
Richard Foster (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Soufian El Hassnaoui (Heart of Midlothian).
Dean Shiels (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.