Hearts report and player ratings v Rangers as two men score 7/10 in the Scottish Cup semi-final

The Ibrox club progress to the final against Celtic on 25 May

Cyriel Dessers’ two goals saw Rangers knock Hearts out of the Scottish Cup at the semi-final stage. This was the fifth meeting of the season between these clubs and the Ibrox side have a 100 per cent record after securing their place in next month’s cup final.

Dessers struck inside the opening five minutes and then claimed a late second to thwart any prospect of a Hearts equaliser at Hampden Park. The Edinburgh club competed better in the second half than the first without creating many real scoring opportunities. Their best chance fell to defender Frankie Kent in the first half.

Celtic’s penalty-shootout success against Aberdeen in Saturday’s other semi-final means the two Glasgow clubs will now compete to lift the famous trophy. Celtic’s victory also ensured Hearts will play European group-stage football next season if they finish third in the Premiership. That issue was put to the side in Glasgow with a cup final berth at stake.

With Connor Goldson left out by Rangers and Alex Cochrane among the Hearts substitutes, both managers took decisions to omit regular members of their respective defences. Pre-match rain pouring down on the Hampden surface was always likely to make life difficult for those at the back. Hearts hadn’t beaten their Ibrox counterparts since 2020 in what was also a Scottish Cup tie and were eager to address a poor run of results in this fixture.

However, they found themselves 1-0 down inside five minutes when Dessers struck. Todd Cantwell capitalised on some unconvincing Hearts defending and slipped a pass to the striker inside the penalty area. He sidestepped Nathaniel Atkinson to slot a tidy conversion beneath the diving Craig Gordon.

John Lundstram and Mo Diomande were controlling midfield along with Cantwell, but those in maroon fashioned a good chance on 25 minutes. Lawrence Shankland’s cross from the right found centre-back Frankie Kent in an unusual position in the penalty area. His attempted sliding finish was stopped by the Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Hearts grew into this tie as the first half progressed and Beni Baningime exerted more influence without managing to regularly open up the Rangers defence. Their final pass in the last third of the pitch needed to improve during the second period if parity was to be restored.

A triple substitution by the Tynecastle head coach Steven Naismith on the hour mark saw Yutaro Oda, Barrie McKay and Dexter Lembikisa introduced. Naismith had seen his team restart positively and unsettle the opposition - he clearly wanted to capitalise. His players remained guilty of taking too many touches in possession, though, while Rangers moved the ball at a quicker tempo.

The final 15 minutes saw Hearts effectively playing with four attackers - Oda, Shankland, McKay and another substitute, Kyosuke Tagawa. However, the game was put beyond them on 78 minutes when Dessers claimed his second of the afternoon. Cantwell set off on a surging forward run after Hearts lost possession in midfield, and the Englishman slipped the ball to Dessers for a shot which Gordon parried. Dessers steadied himself to tuck the rebound away confidently.

Substitute Fabio Silva should have made it 3-0 in the dying moments, but he fell when trying to knock Dessers’ cutback into the net from close range. Then came a superb save by Jack Butland to stop Oda’s drive from 14 yards. That left Dessers’ double as the goals which took Rangers into the cup final.

Here are the Hearts player ratings from Hampden:

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