Ibrox stadium once again hosts a top of the table clash with Hearts the visitors and a precious three points at stake. Another International break has finally finished, after what always feels like an eternity, but on a high after a much welcomed victory and performance against Hibs.
Hearts are an interesting opponent and littered with a decent squad which has a few players who threaten to regularly shine, Craig Gordon and Beni Baningime immediately stand out for those reasons. So this will be a test and it will be interesting to see how they come to approach this game, will they sit in or try to go for it? Barrie McKay, Liam Boyce and Ben Woodburn would indicate they certainly intend to have a go.
Rangers have Allan McGregor in goals and James Tavernier returns to captain the side at right back. Goldson and Balogun in the centre with Borna Barisic at left back.
John Lundstram again is central to the midfield and becoming first choice, Joe Aribo and Glen Kamara partner him with Steven Davis again on the bench but a perfect option should we need him later in the game.
Scott Wright again starts up front with Ryan Kent one week away and against Hibs began once again to show his real promise. Alfredo Morelos and Ianis Hagi partner him with the ability to have Aribo and Ianis swap about if needed.
Rangers obviously familiar shape and hopefully we kick on from the final two thirds of the match against Hibs where we looked bright and much more like us. One thing for sure and it’s an obvious statement, but we have to be on it and a victory today begins to create the gap that we have all discussed regularly on social media.
Hopefully the team do that and manage what will be a big victory ahead of the last of these huge home matches with Brondby next on Thursday night.
Let’s go Rangers 👏🏻
First half action
1-5 mins – Bright start for Rangers, Scott Wright shot is well saved by Gordon and Morelos return blocked for a corner.
6 mins – Chance! lovely quick play and a Wright flick releases Hagi who’s early shot is easily smothered by Gordon. Hagi had more space and time there than he thought.
13 mins – Chance! Lovely move as Wright nips in a short Hearts pass, fires it to Aribo who plays in Morelos who drags it wide.
15 mins – Caution 📒 Alex Cochrane cautioned for a pull on Joe Aribo.
17 mins – Aribo shot deflects into Gordons hands.
20 mins – Borna gets to the touchline and his cross is fluffed by Alfredo and a half chance is gone.
23 mins – Caution 📒 Goldson cautioned for fouling Ben Woodburn, he’s not happy about it.
29 mins – Chance! Rangers win a corner as Goldson heads a short FK back across. Corner is swung in and Balogun heads but Gordon saves that and his rebound brilliantly!
35 mins – Caution 📒 Joe Aribo goes to ground and is cautioned.
37 mins – Caution 📒 Baningime cautioned for a crude tackle on Alfredo from behind.
41 mins – GOOOOAAAALLLL! Brilliant long ball from Connor Goldson releases Hagi on the right and he fires a cross in which is cleared out to the on running Lundstram who takes his time and curls a beauty past the outstretched Gordon who gets a hand but can’t keep it out! It’s an absolute beauty and thoroughly deserved!
HT Rangers 1 Hearts 0
HT Summary – Excellent 45 mins from Rangers and rewarded for their pressure with a lovely goal from the brilliant John Lundstram. He’s been everywhere, every second ball and tackle he has won and a lovely goal to cap a wonderful performance so far.
Rangers have been at their best. Strong in the tackle, strong in possession and playing with a different rhythm and variation at times. Balls wide and through the middle mixing up the attack with the goal coming from a long ball from Goldson.
Easily the best performance of the season and now the challenge to kick on in the second half.
Second half action –
47 mins – Caution 📒 Balogun for a pull on Boyce.
51 mins – Hagi fluffs a shot wide from low Kamara pass.
53 mins – Better move and Hagi shot deflects wide.
60 mins – SUB – Wright off for Bacuna
70 mins – Boyce forces brilliant McGregor save but offside flag up.
71 mins – Barrie McKay waltzes through Rangers and drills a shot which McGregor keeps out. So poor from the team as he goes through unchallenged.
72 mins – More Hearts pressure as Devlin shot is well saved by McGregor
74 mins – Aribo cuts in and Morelos on a plate screws it wide
Changes – Hagi and Aribo off – Roofe and Davis on
80 mins – Chance! Roofe through and hits the post from Bacuna post, well saved by Gordon.
84 mins – Chance! Morelos again puts one wide when easier to score, he has been dreadful today.
89 mins – Goal! Hearts equalise from a corner, McGregor comes to punch and gets poor contact on it and Halkett heads home. 1-1.
Full time Rangers 1 Hearts 1
Summary – Such a poor second and so wasteful from that Rangers team.
Going to say a few things that are harsh and may upset some but Alfredo Morelos today was absolutely awful. Attitude and desire severely questionable. Misses happen, but his all round play was miles away from where it needs to be. He needs a serious word in his ear.
Secondly the managers substitutions were awful and took the pace right out the team. Wright, Hagi and Aribo were all dangerous and when they went off that caused us no end of issues. The team were tired with zero outball. So then dropped deep and had nothing to go for.
Again after such a strong first half we have thrown away two points exactly as we did against Motherwell and this team won’t win anything when they keep doing the same similar mistakes.
Really poor from Rangers and we walked straight into a situation without learning lessons.
It’s been patchy all season but at some point they are going to have to wake up.