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Rangers 2-1 Hearts: Atakayi double secures three points for Swifts

Jay Mansfield

With the Scottish FA Youth Cup final on the horizon and a visit to Cappielow to face Celtic, Graeme Murty’s side were looking to build on last week’s win over Partick and build some momentum despite missing a host of regulars. After impressing in last week’s win Andy Dallas came in to replace Amin Abaradan while Max Ashmore moved back into midfield meaning a rare start for Scott Gray.

Both sides started brightly as they looked for an early opener but it took well into the first half for there to be any real chances for either side. Serge Atakayi and Liam Burt worked hard to find chances down the flanks Hearts’ compact defence made it difficult to get balls into the area.

Max Ashmore has Rangers’ first real chance when Serge Atakayi’s deft touch found the midfielder but his shot lacked any real power and Kelby Mason saved comfortably. Liam Burt then had a golden opportunity when Andy Dallas’ header fell to him just a few yards out but he could only direct it into Mason’s hands.

Graeme Murty’s side continued to push for an opener as the first half ticked away but struggled to really test Mason in the Hearts goal.

Rangers almost took the lead a minute into the second half when Atakayi’s run down the right created space to get a cross away. Liam Burt got on the end of the Congolese winger’s cross but Mason smothered the ball before Burt could get a shot away.

Rangers then took the lead after 52 minutes after a fantastic run from Liam Burt ended with the ball falling perfectly for Atakayi who fired low beyond Mason into the back of the net. Burt’s pass was inch perfect and Atayaki showed great composure to pick his spot and steer it past Mason.

Hearts then turned up the pressure on Rangers as they tried to find an equaliser but Rangers’ back four remained solid and limited Jon Daly’s side to long shots which never really troubled keeper Robby McCrorie. Unable to find a way through, the Hearts players resorted to kicking anything in blue for a spell with the referee giving very little in Rangers’ favour.

The visitors finally found an equaliser through Roy with 10 minutes left. The Hearts forward’s run wasn’s picked up and his low shot could only be palmed off the post and in by Robby McCrorie.

The score wasn’t level for long however. Atakayi’s shot from the edge of the box was touched onto the post by Mason but the rebound bounced over the line despite the Jambos’ protestations.

Rangers: McCrorie, Lyon, Gray, Ashmore, Bradley, Wilson, Atakayi, Barjonas, Dallas, Gibson, Burt

Subs: Wright, Abaradan, Jeffries

Goals: Atakayi 52’, 81’

Hearts: Mason, Brandon, Petkov, Jones, Reid, Choulay, Paton, Beith, Moore, Henderson, Roy

Subs: Gallacher, Currie, Morrison, K.Smith, Leonard, Cochrane, Akers

Goals: Roy 78’