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Hearts vs. Rangers SPFL Championship 22/11/2015 K0 12:45

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Ready For Hearts: Says Ally McCoist



ALLY McCoist says that Rangers are ready to take on Hearts this Saturday lunchtime with preparations starting as soon as the game against Alloa was finished.

After a busy end to October and start to November with three midweek games followed by games at the weekend, the Rangers manager is pleased to have a full week to put the disappointment of Alloa to one side and to prepare for Hearts.

McCoist said: “We've had a couple of lads away on international duty - hopefully they will come back safe and sound. The preparations started straight away, it will be a tough game but we are looking forward to it.

“I know it sounds crazy, but we could have done with a midweek game before Saturday. But at the same time, it does give us a good week to prepare for the game.

The Gers have been in excellent form since the disappointment of losing to Hibs at the end of September, winning eight games in a row before drawing with Alloa on Saturday and McCoist says that the positives have outweighed the negatives during that run:

“There have been more good than bad things to look at in recent games. Particularly over a league campaign where it's not going to be plain sailing every week, there's going to be some ups and some downs.

“I would argue that over the last five or six weeks, there have been far more good performances than there have been indifferent ones. I think the Alloa game was at best indifferent, but we still should have won the game with the chances that we created.â€

Rangers have been without three players due to international commitments - although Lewis Macleod was released to play against Alloa.

With injuries to Fraser Aird and Lee Wallace to contend with before the top of the table clash, McCoist is hoping his players return in good health.

He said: “It's important that we have a fully fit and healthy squad of players to pick from at the weekend.

“It's very early in the week to start to discussing injuries - but I would be very hopeful that our three international players would come back fit and well and raring to go.â€


Kris Boyd: Looking forward to Hearts


Stevie Smith: Hoping to be on Tyne

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Another match in which refereeing decisions had a massive influence on the outcome.

The sending off of Stevie Smith after 20 minutes may have been correct to the letter of the law, but in the context of the game as it is played in Scotland, this was a very harsh decision. You'll see any number of equally bad, even worse, challenges, for which no action is taken.

To be honest, I didn't have too clear a view of the penalty, but according to the commentators it looked to be another harsh decision. And so despite looking very good early on, and hard work throughout, coming close on a couple of occasions even when they were down to ten men, Rangers now find themselves nine points behind Hearts.


Hearts 2-0 Rangers


SECOND-HALF goals from Jason Holt and Jamie Walker secured all three points for Hearts against a Rangers side reduced to 10 men after just 20 minutes at Tynecastle.

Steven Smith’s dismissal for a challenge on Callum Paterson meant Ally McCoist’s men had a mountain to climb in today’s capital clash and although they worked exceptionally hard throughout it was the Jambos that claimed an important victory which moves them nine points clear at the top of the table.

Holt’s goal, scored in the 55th minute, was a sweet strike which flew past Steve Simonsen but up to that point Rangers had shown a lot of character and fighting spirit in a match which often threatened to boil over.

Walker then doubled his side’s advantage at the death when he coolly fired home a penalty after Ian Black had brought him down in the box.

As expected the atmosphere in the ground at kick off was electric with the 1,200 Gers fans making their voices heard.

When the action got underway the volume was cranked up further and within 60 seconds Hearts’ Paterson and Gers defender Lee Wallace were on the deck having been on the receiving end of robust challenges.

Good goalscoring opportunities were few and far between in the early stages albeit the visitors were looking a brighter in the last third.

On 14 minutes Lewis Macleod’s volley took a deflection before going over. Mohsni then played a quick free kick to the unmarked Wallace but the energetic Paterson did well to get back and block the left back’s shot.

The game, however, swung in Hearts’ favour with Smith’s dismissal and referee Craig Thomson was swift in making his decision. It was a late and hard tackle on Paterson and as the player went down you felt a red card was inevitable with the home support calling for it.

Despite being a man down Rangers continued to push forward with intent and before the half hour mark Law released Wallace down on the left flank but his shot went high and wide albeit he had to rush his effort under pressure.

Wallace was getting a bit of joy with his power and pace but on 35 minutes it was route one football that proved effective.

Daly was fouled as a high ball was punted up to him and from the free kick that followed Neil Alexander did well to dive to his left to make a good stop from Law’s curling shot.

Almost immediately at the other end the Jambos found themselves in a similar position but Alim Ozturk’s free kick from 25 yards brought out a fine save from Simonsen, his first of the match.

As the rain started to lash down on the Tynecastle pitch it did little to dampen the fiery atmosphere in this highly-charged battle and the tempo of the game didn’t dip either.

Prior to the interval Hearts started to exert more pressure on the Gers backline with Morgaro Gomis’ shot skimming a foot wide of target.

Simonsen then had to be at his very best to keep the score level before the break. Miguel Pallardo crossed from the right and Brad McKay’s looping header was dipping into the opposite top corner. Simmo, however, managed to tip the ball brilliantly on to the bar and out for a corner.

With Hearts’ left back Kevin McHattie then curling a right foot shot wide of the Englishman’s far post the half-time whistle came at a good time for Rangers as they looked to regroup after an action-packed first half.

Robbie Neilson’s men continued where they left off when the play resumed with Ozturk trying his luck from 40 yards with a thunderbolt which flew across Simonsen before smashing into the advertising boards.

A tackle from Kenny Miller on McHattie then resulted in the left back being stretchered off and McCoist made his first change to his side with Richard Foster taking Miller’s place with the striker on a yellow card.

On 55 minutes the opening goal arrived and it was Hearts who got it. A cross came in from the right and when the ball was diverted out to Holt he planted an accurate right foot shot beyond Simonsen from 20 yards.

Rangers, to their credit, responded immediately and they came within inches of getting back on level terms in the space of 60 seconds.

Wallace managed to dig out a cross from the left and when the ball fell to Law in the box his shot was saved initially by Alexander. The rebound came back out to Foster and his blocked shot hit the crossbar before being cleared.

It was frantic football but for the neutral watching it must have been pulsating with Rangers continuing to drive forward at every opportunity and the Jambos trying to make the most of their extra-man advantage.

With a one-goal lead in place, however, Hearts were in the driving seat as they pushed for a second goal, which they eventually got on 87 minutes from the penalty spot.

Black was guilty of bringing down Jamie Walker in the box and the winger stepped up to slot the ball into the net to secure the points for his side.

HEARTS (4-5-1) Alexander; Paterson, Ozturk, McKay, McHattie (Eckersley 50); King, Pallardo, Holt (McGhee 83), Gomis, Walker; El Hassnoaui (Keatings 55)
SUBS NOT USED: Gallacher, Nicholson, Buaben, Buchanan
GOALS: Holt 55, Walker 87pen
BOOKINGS: Paterson, Gomis, Eckersley, Pallardo

RANGERS (4-4-2): Simonsen; McGregor, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace; Macleod (Boyd 79), Law, Black, Smith; Daly (Clark 83), Miller (Foster 52)
SUBS NOT USED: Robinson, Aird, Templeton, Shiels
BOOKINGS: Miller, Black, Daly, McGregor, Boyd

REF: Craig Thomson
ATT: 17,004






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