Ian Cathro’s Hearts side demolished Rangers 4-1 tonight at Tynecastle in an incredibly one-sided match. Rangers never got going and Emerson Hyndman’s goal late in the first half sent the sides in level at half time but a second half collapse let saw Hearts grab three goals without reply.
Hearts opened the scoring after just four minutes when Nowak found acres of space in the penalty area to head home from Struna’s cross. Rob Kiernan should have done much better at closing down his man but was caught under the ball and made to pay.
Rangers couldn’t find any kind of rhythm in the opening half-hour and were second best for long spells. The light blues’ only real opportunity in the first 30 minutes came when Waghorn made himself some space before firing a shot low to Jack Hamilton’s right but the Hearts keeper saved comfortably.
As the first half ticked away Mark Warburton’s side started to impose themselves a bit more on their hosts and began to create some goal-scoring chances. They eventually got themselves back on level terms after 36 minutes when, following more than a little bit of luck, Hamilton flapped at a corner and the ball ended up at the feet of Emerson Hyndman who lashed it home from the edge of the area.
Hearts quickly re-established their lead when Jamie Walker grabbed his 6th goal in seven games after mugging Halliday in midfield before smashing a fantastic strike beyond Foderingham.
Six minutes later the Jambos doubled their lead. Rangers were slow to react to a quickly taken free-kick and Don Cowie was left to tap the ball home from a yard out. Bjorn Johnsen done brilliantly to get down the Rangers right and lay it on a plate for Cowie and the ex-Inverness midfielder couldn’t miss.
Mark Warburton then mystified the Rangers support by taking Hyndman off for Josh Windass. The American had been Rangers best player, again, and contributed more then several of his team-mates, again, and the loanee trudged off with Martyn Waghorn to a brief chorus of boos.
Minutes later Hearts made it four. A woeful attempt to punch the ball by Foderingham was punished and Walker grabbed his second of the night.
With 20 minutes left Rangers had a goal disallowed after Harry Forrester had strayed a yard too far beyond the Hearts defensive line and Kevin Clancy gave the hosts a free-kick.
The defeat now leaves Rangers 25 points behind Celtic and as good as the players’ pitch geography may be and regardless of how hard they may have worked in training during the week results are simply not acceptable. No wins away from home against any of the top five sides in the Premiership is not good enough. Warburton can point to the financial gap between us and Celtic but that doesn’t excuse results like tonights.
Hearts: Hamilton, Struna, Nowak, Hughes, Sowah, Kitchen, Cowie, Martin, Walker, Goncalves, Johnsen
Subs: Noring, Smith, Avlonitis, Beith, Tziolis, Nicholson, Choulay
Goals: Nowak 4’, Walker 48’ 63’, Cowie 54’,
Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Hill, Wallace, Halliday, Toral, Hyndman, McKay, Miller, Waghorn
Subs: Alnwick, Hodson, Senderos, Holt, Forrester, Dodoo, Windass
Goals: Hyndman 36’