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Rangers 1-2 Hearts SPFL Championship


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Well that was a bummer. David Templeton should have scored, or at the very least hit the target, and then just when you thought that Nicky Law had rescued a point for Rangers near enough smack on the 90 minute mark, woeful defending allowed Hearts to steam in straight from the restart to steal the winner.

 

A wake-up call if ever there was one, and if lessons aren't learned with immediate effect, this season is just about guaranteed to be a hell of a lot more difficult than the last two. Ah well, there's a long way to go yet.

 

Here's the Match Report from the Official Site:

 

Rangers 1-2 Hearts

HEARTS grabbed a dramatic injury-time winner seconds after Rangers thought they’d snatched a point as the Championship got off to a disappointing start for the Light Blues.

On the day the Govan Stand was renamed in Sandy Jardine’s honour, his old club came to Ibrox and earned a hard-fought victory.

Gers were the better team in the first period after unfurling the League One flag but squandered a host of opportunities and paid for it shortly after the restart.

Danny Wilson – one of seven players who featured against their old team – netted with a strong header.

The home side took time to pick up but finally did on the 90-minute mark as Nicky Law forced over the line when Kenny Miller knocked down to him.

Osman Sow delivered a crushing blow almost instantly, however, to give the Tynecastle side a very early advantage in the title race.

The defeat was Ally McCoist’s team’s first in a league contest since they were beaten 2-1 by Peterhead in the Third Division in April 2013.

Backed by a boisterous home crowd, Rangers began on the front foot and Kris Boyd’s early shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Away defender Alim Ozturk was also short with a passback to Neil Alexander and the visitors nearly paid for his slackness as Ian Black chased the ball down.

The keeper did enough to block him but the rebound spilled to Miller, only for Alexander to thwart him too then Boyd as he followed up after that.

There was indecision at the other end too as Marius Zaliukas and Cammy Bell got mixed up, with the latter touching a cross behind for a corner when he expected the defender to clear.

When the set piece came in, Wilson steered a header towards the back post but David Templeton – in for Darren McGregor - cleared well with a strong header.

Back came Gers again in a frantic start, with Miller outfoxing Wilson on the near side to allow Lewis Macleod to swing a teasing cross in which dropped just past the far post.

Templeton then somehow headed over after Miller miscued with his own shot following wonderful footwork by Macleod to wriggle into the area.

Hearts looked rattled in defence and Lee Wallace was able to get the better of Ozturk as he tried to shepherd a ball out for a goal kick.

But when Templeton picked up, he elected to aim for goal and lifted too high when he should have picked Boyd out in a central position instead.

The ex-Tynecastle player was involved in much of Rangers’ attacking play and he got on the end of Macleod’s cross too but his header was tame and off the mark.

Miller was next to come forward as the hosts continued to have the better of play without making it count.

Law disposed in midfield and threaded through to the striker, who took a touch too many and saw his chance to score go.

The longer things went on without the Light Blues capitalising on one of their openings, the more it seemed that could be costly.

And as Zaliukas flashed a header past from Black’s free kick after Macleod was fouled, it became increasingly frustrating the scoreline remained goalless.

The visitors made a rare burst forward and nearly went in front themselves when Gers switched off and Wilson played across for Ozturk to poke past from close range.

It was a warning Rangers didn’t heed and again Robbie Neilson’s men came forward, with Sam Nicholson wasting a header from Osman Sow’s pinpoint delivery.

With Hearts getting on top and not given a penalty they should have had when Law felled Billy King, the half-time whistle came at a good point for Gers.

But they fell behind seven minutes into the second period when Wilson headed home a King corner and showed respect to his former club with a muted celebration.

The home team tried to hit back quickly, with Miller’s delightful flick from Macleod’s low corner blocked on the line before McCulloch and Boyd were denied close in too.

There was a lengthy stoppage midway through the second half as Alexander and Ozturk clashed going for a Law free kick.

The former Ibrox keeper came off worst and had to be replaced by another ex-Ger, with Scott Gallacher coming on in his place.

Such a long pause suited Hearts more and any momentum Rangers might have been building was nipped in the bud.

McCoist brought on Dean Shiels for Templeton in an effort to lift the pace again but the malaise continued as fellow substitute Kyle Hutton screwed high and wide.

It was only in the closing minutes that Gers looked like they might level as McCulloch connected with a Macleod free kick, was blocked and Zaliukas suffered the same fate.

Miller also had a curling attempt from 20 yards blocked by Ozturk and with that is seemed Hearts would hang on.

But then, just as the match lurched into six minutes of injury time, Law struck to make it 1-1 with Gallacher’s hand not being enough to keep him out.

Within seconds, the Jambos burst upfield and grabbed a winner which, while cruel, summed up the hosts’ day.

Sow was the scorer as he slotted low under Bell from the edge of the area to give his team the points.

RANGERS: Bell; Foster, McCulloch, Zaliukas, Wallace; Macleod, Black (Hutton 49), Law, Templeton (Shiels 71); Miller, Boyd.

SUBS NOT USED: Simonsen, Smith, Aird, Clark, McGregor.

SCORER: Law 90.

BOOKINGS: Zaliukas, Foster.

HEARTS: Alexander (Gallacher 68); McGhee (McKay 55), Ozturk, Wilson, McHattie; Nicholson, Buaben, Gomis, King; Carrick (Holt 81), Sow.

SUBS NOT USED: Smith, Oliver, Keatings, Smith.

SCORERS: Wilson 53, Sow 90.

BOOKINGS: McGhee, Sow, McHattie, McKay, Wilson, Gomis.

REFEREE: Craig Thomson.

ATTENDANCE: 43,683.

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I think McCoist has taken the team as far as he can, it's time for a change.  We could do with someone with a bit of tactical nous who can get a better service into Boyd and Miller. 

 

You may be right there, at some point talent evens out and you do have to have that extra bit of "tactical nous" to elevate the squad to the next level. Still way too early to worry, after 10 games or so you get more of a feel which way this team is headed.

 

 

 

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Headline from the official Rangers site:

We Can Challenge City

I can't open the link but I'm assuming that's Brechin City?

 

 

Not quite...

 

We Can Challenge City

KEVIN MURPHY says there’s no reason why Rangers shouldn’t be aiming to break Glasgow City’s stranglehold on Scottish women’s football this season.

The Light Blues currently sit second in the SWPL behind Eddie Wolecki Black’s side as they bid for their highest ever finish in the top flight.

City have won the last seven titles in a row and their domination of the game in this country has propelled them to the knockout stages of the Champions League in the last two years.

They currently hold a seven-point advantage over Gers in the table but the teams have still to play each other twice in post-split fixtures over the next few weeks.

In that respect, while it’s a tall order for new manager Murphy’s Ibrox outfit to overhaul that deficit and win, he believes they’re in a position to genuinely challenge for the silverware.

The former Hamilton Ladies boss ended nine years with the Lanarkshire team to take up his new role at the end of last month.

And having been impressed what he has seen so far, he wants his new charges to push on and have the best end to the campaign possible.

Murphy, whose squad is a point ahead of third-placed Celtic with a game in hand – said: “The girls are absolutely flying at the moment.

“It’s quite an unusual circumstance. Normally when you inherit a team it’s because it is struggling but it’s the opposite here.

“Credit has to go to the previous coaches. The club has done things properly, made gradual progress and now we’re sitting second in the league.

“The girls have been great with me and their enthusiasm, dedication and work-rate have all been different class.

“It’s a case of continuing to build on the foundations that have been set and we’re looking to build further and move forward again.

“We want to close the gap between us and Glasgow City and want to finish as strongly as we can this season.

“We’ve never been as high as second at the end of a season before and Rangers have improved year on year.

“But when you’re at a club like this, you want to win every game and you want to win championships and trophies.

“If we finish second we’ll take that as a success to build on next year but the next logical step is to go for the title. I think we’re in a position where we can challenge for that now.

“We’ve got a talented squad and I’ve seen more than enough to feel we can compete against any team in the league.â€

Murphy admits he was set to take a sabbatical from coaching when he decided to end his long association with Hamilton.

But Gers moved to bring him in when they learned he was stepping down and he couldn’t resist the challenge of working for the Light Blues.

Murphy added: “I felt it was time for a break in my career and was quite happy to take some time away from football.

“It’s funny how things work out. The opportunity to come in at Rangers came about and it’s such a fantastic club that’s going places. I’d have been a fool to knock it back.â€

 

 

Sorry about that!

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