Scottish Premiership
Rangers2Hearts1

Rangers 2-1 Heart of Midlothian

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Highlights: Rangers 2-1 Heart of Midlothian

Rangers returned to second place in the Premiership thanks to goals from Jason Cummings and Daniel Candeias against Hearts at Ibrox.

After a drab first half, Cummings fired in the opening goal on 47 minutes, with Candeias adding a flying header.

Hearts were barely seen as an attacking force before Christophe Berra nodded in from a free kick 19 minutes from time.

Kyle Lafferty cracked the post soon after but Rangers finished the stronger side, squandering several chances.

Rangers had lost ground in the race for second, with just one win from their past four outings in the league and the mood was darkened further by last weekend's Scottish Cup semi-final mauling from Celtic.

Hibs moved level on points on Saturday lunchtime and Aberdeen jumped above them later in the day, so manager Graeme Murty needed a response from the home side against a Hearts side who were obdurate in defence during a forgettable first 45 minutes.

With a subdued atmosphere inside the stadium, several empty seats and a banner reading: "No fight, no pride. Nowhere to hide. Incompetent on & off the pitch. We deserve better", it was clear fans were also looking for improvement.

However, there were only two moments to trouble Hearts before the interval, with goalkeeper Joe McLaughlin swiftly off his line to block from Jamie Murphy and a glancing header from Russell Martin drifting narrowly over the top.

Cummings, who was making just a third league start since his January loan move from Nottingham Forest, flitted on the fringes in the first half but made made his mark just two minutes after the restart.

Jason Cummings knocks in the opening goal at Ibrox
Jason Cummings knocks in the opening goal at Ibrox

Murphy drilled in a low cross from the left and, with three defenders drawn to Candeias, the Portuguese did well to turn and lay a pass off to Cummings, who had time to slam the ball home from 10 yards.

The match was suddenly much livelier and Murphy had the crowd on their feet after a mazy run took him past three opponents inside the penalty box only to see his final effort blocked when a pass may have been the better option.

The winger, on loan from Brighton, made amends by delivering the cross for Candeias to double the hosts' lead.

Once again, Hearts were found wanting at the back as the scorer was left all alone to pick his spot with a powerful header from near the penalty spot.

McLaughlin had to beat away a fierce angled strike from Josh Windass as Rangers pushed for a third but the Edinburgh side changed the complexion of the match with a goal out of the blue when Berra diverted in a Don Cowie free kick.

Two minutes later, Lafferty was unlucky to see his curling shot from 18 yards thunder against the post as he took aim for the far top corner but Craig Levein's men could not muster another opportunity to find a leveller.

Instead, Hearts were making life difficult for themselves with more shaky defending.

Cummings could not punish a slack pass from Berra, unable to profit from a one-on-one with McLaughlin, while the goalkeeper's stoppage-time rush from his area led to Michael Smith making a goal-line clearance to deny Rangers substitute Alfredo Morelos.

Now Murty's men must summon more of the verve and determination shown in the second half as they prepare to visit a Celtic side looking to wrap up a seventh successive title next Sunday.

Line-ups

Rangers

  • 25Alnwick
  • 2TavernierBooked at 70mins
  • 40McCrorie
  • 33Martin
  • 3John
  • 23Holt
  • 10Dorrans
  • 21CandeiasSubstituted forO'Halloranat 90+2'minutes
  • 11WindassSubstituted forHallidayat 76'minutes
  • 28Murphy
  • 26CummingsSubstituted forMorelosat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 16Halliday
  • 17Hodson
  • 20Morelos
  • 27Goss
  • 29O'Halloran
  • 32Kelly
  • 48Docherty

Hearts

  • 1McLaughlin
  • 4Souttar
  • 5HughesSubstituted forHendersonat 81'minutes
  • 6Berra
  • 16RandallBooked at 58mins
  • 2Smith
  • 15Cowie
  • 28GodinhoSubstituted forMooreat 60'minutes
  • 14Naismith
  • 7AmankwaaSubstituted forAdaoat 55'minutes
  • 9Lafferty

Substitutes

  • 13Hamilton
  • 33Moore
  • 43Henderson
  • 46McDonald
  • 47Cochrane
  • 48Hamilton
  • 66Adao
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
47,272

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home21
Away6
Shots on Target
Home9
Away3
Corners
Home15
Away5
Fouls
Home10
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Rangers 2, Heart of Midlothian 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Rangers 2, Heart of Midlothian 1.

Michael O'Halloran (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Michael O'Halloran replaces Daniel Candeias.

Daniel Candeias (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joaquim Adao (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt blocked. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Daniel Candeias (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Michael Smith.

Attempt blocked. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Graham Dorrans.

Foul by Daniel Candeias (Rangers).

Lewis Moore (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Alfredo Morelos replaces Jason Cummings.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Lewis Moore.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Christophe Berra.

Attempt saved. Jason Cummings (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Andy Halliday (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Connor Randall.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Euan Henderson replaces Aaron Hughes.

Foul by Jamie Murphy (Rangers).

John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Daniel Candeias (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian).

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jon McLaughlin.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Andy Halliday replaces Josh Windass.

Attempt saved. Jamie Murphy (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Christophe Berra.

Attempt missed. Graham Dorrans (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.

Attempt saved. Josh Windass (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Rangers 2, Heart of Midlothian 1. Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Don Cowie with a cross following a set piece situation.

Booking

James Tavernier (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).

Lewis Moore (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Daniel Candeias (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jon McLaughlin.

Attempt saved. Josh Windass (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Jak Alnwick.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic34229365234275
2Rangers34205969393065
3Aberdeen34205952361665
4Hibernian341711651361562
5Kilmarnock34151094541455
6Hearts341113103632446
7Motherwell34109153643-739
8St Johnstone34108163349-1638
9Dundee3496193354-2133
10Hamilton3486204462-1830
11Partick Thistle3477202858-3028
12Ross County3469193857-1927
View full Scottish Premiership table

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