No Joy In Gorgie
eleven points in the title race following today's 0-1
defeat at Tynecastle - a margin that is surely too
great, even this early in the season, for the reigning
Champions to claw back.
A capacity crowd in Edinburgh saw a game full of drama
and passion - but in the final analysis Rangers,
although desperately unlucky to head back to the west
empty-handed, had only themselves to blame for this
A Hearts team containing no fewer than six loan
signings went into this game on the back of seven
successive League wins, although suffering defeat at
the hands of Livingston in midweek.
Rangers of course had their own League Cup problems to
contend with, and visited Gorgie trailing the
Championship leaders by eight points. It had however
been all of seven years since the Light Blues had
suffered defeat at Tynecastle, since Dick Advocaat's
first League game in charge of the club.
Manager Alex McLeish made five changes from the Clyde
game, with Fernando Ricksen, Julien Rodriguez, Hamed
Namouchi, Dado Prso and Nacho Novo replacing Alan
Lowing, Bob Malcolm, Thomas Buffel, Francis Jeffers
and Peter Lovenkrands.
Rangers lined up with a back three, but it was all
Hearts in the early stages with Edgaras Jankauskas
seeing his header from a Rudi Skacel cross turned wide
by Ronald Waterreus in thirteen minutes.
The opener was merely delayed however - the resultant
Skacel corner being bulleted home at the near post by
a header from Roman Bednar.
It was a bad goal for the visitors to lose, almost
identical to the first goal conceded against Porto -
and three minutes later the same duo almost repeated
the dose - Bednar's header on this occasion flying
Novo was obliged to depart the scene in nineteen
minutes, limping off to be replaced by Jeffers.
Skacel was giving Ricksen a torrid time of it on the
left, his snapshot in 24 minutes being inches wide.
The Ibrox men at last began to impose themselves on
the proceedings - Dado Prso's header from a Barry
Ferguson free-kick being turned wide by Craig Gordon
in 27 minutes.
The home side remained the more direct however - sixty
seconds later Samuel Camazzola saw his hook shot held
In an effort to alter the direction of the game, Alex
McLeish introduced Buffel for Rodriguez in 35 minutes,
reverting to a back four with Ricksen and Bernard
The first-half ended without further score however,
and although Rangers pressed from the restart the home
defence remained solid with the Scotland trio of
Gordon, Andy Webster and former Ranger Steven Pressley
The Light Blues had a strong penalty claim turned down
when Ferguson was felled in 69 minutes - and to add
insult to injury the Ibrox Captain was booked for
Federico Nieto replaced Namouchi three minutes later
and the Argentinian almost made an immediate impact,
shooting over in 76 minutes following excellent
running by Buffel from an Andrews pass.
It was all Rangers in the closing stages - Ricksen's
25-yard free-kick being held by Gordon in 84 minutes,
then four minutes later the Champions were denied a
stonewall penalty when Nieto created space on the
right before cutting the ball back to Jeffers whose
netbound drive was clearly blocked by the hand of
Referee Kenny Clark saw nothing amiss however - and
the final whistle soon afterwards signalled an eight
successive victory for a Hearts team that is certainly
direct, solid and hard working, but short on skill.
The Continentals amongst the Gorgie men are also adept
at simulation and feigning injury - or cheating, as
football purists prefer to call it. Sadly Kenny Clark
chose to do nothing about it today.
HEARTS Gordon; Neilson, Webster, Pressley, Fyssas;
Camazzola, Hartley, Brellier, Skacel; Jankauskas,
UNUSED SUBS Cesnauskis, Banks, Berra, Elliot
RANGERS Waterreus; Andrews, Kyrgiakos, Rodriguez
(Buffel 35); Ricksen, Namouchi (Nieto 72), Ferguson,
Murray, Bernard; Prso, Novo (Jeffers 19)
UNUSED SUBS Fanfan, Klos, Lowing, McCormack
REFEREE Kenny Clark