Rangers 2-0 Hearts: Cathro suffers a disappointing start

Ian Cathro took charge of Hearts for the first time at Ibrox
Ian Cathro took charge of Hearts for the first time at Ibrox
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Goals by Rob Kiernan and Barrie McKay consigned Hearts to defeat against Rangers in Ian Cathro's first game in charge.

Rangers struck in each half to ensure they remain second in the Ladbrokes Premiership, although they were helped by some generous defending from their opponents.

Cathro succeeded Robbie Neilson as Tynecastle head coach at the start of the week and was beginning his managerial career at the age of 30. He would have been unhappy with the defensive organisation of his team, which seemed unsettled whenever Rangers attacked.

Kiernan headed home a free-kick in the first half and McKay exploited sub-standard defending to put the result beyond doubt shortly after half-time. It was a frustrating afternoon for Cathro and his assistant Austin MacPhee and leaves them plenty work to do on the training field this week.

These two sides met at Tynecastle ten days previously with Hearts taking a deserved 2-0 victory. Despite the managerial change, the Edinburgh club named the same starting line-up for the fourth successive game. Rangers were on a revenge mission aiming to retain that second place.

They started strongly, pushing Hearts back and constantly probing at their defence. Lee Wallace tried an attempt from distance on 13 minutes, and two minutes later Kenny Miller ought to have scored. He lofted the ball wide when through on the visiting goalkeeper Jack Hamilton.

Don Cowie did find the net for Hearts soon after that but his celebrations were cut short by a delayed flag. Cowie converted Callum Paterson's driven ball across goal but was ruled offside, much to the disgust of Cathro and his players.

Hamilton produced a vital save from Wallace on 24 minutes and there was no doubt Rangers were dominating. They capitalised on that superiority five minutes later. James Tavernier's inswinging free-kick from the left was headed powerfully into the net by centre-back Kiernan, who appeared to have little challenge to contend with.

When Rangers struck again early in the second half, the game was over. Hearts had been flat for much of the opening 45 minutes and looked slightly nervous at times in defence. That was evident at the second goal.

Wallace's long throw from the left was misjudged by both Igor Rossi and Faycal Rherras as it bounced inside the penalty area. When the ball dropped in behind Rherras, McKay made no mistake dispatching into the net.

Hamilton's excellent block when faced by Rangers substitute Martyn Waghorn one-on-one prevented a certain third goal for the hosts. Hearts tried to force their way forward during the remainder of the match but any shots they managed were off target. As such, Rangers finished the match in a fair degree of comfort.

Rangers (4-3-3): Foderingham; Hodson, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace; Tavernier, Halliday, Holt; Miller, Garner, McKay.

Subs

60: Waghorn for Miller

88: Dodoo for Garner

90: Burt for McKay

Unused subs: Gilks, Crooks, Senderos, O'Halloran.

Hearts (4-2-3-1): Hamilton; Paterson, Souttar, Rossi, Rherras; Cowie, Kitchen; Walker, Djoum, Muirhead; Johnsen.

Subs

51: Watt for Walker

69: Sammon for Muirhead

81: L Smith for Cowie

Unused subs: Noring, Ozturk, Buaben, Oshaniwa.

Referee: John Beaton.

Attendance: 50,039.