Hearts disappointed to spoil defensive record but Claire Delworth preaches perspective after 5-0 Rangers loss

Though Hearts knew a victory would have been unlikely going into Sunday’s SWPL 1 encounter with Rangers at the Oriam, there was still a stinging feeling of disappointment after the 5-0 defeat to the league leaders.

By Craig Fowler
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 6:48 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th January 2022, 6:48 pm

This was the first time this season Eva Olid’s side had conceded more than three goals in a single game. It may not sound impressive to the uninitiated, but in a division so clearly split between the top of the table and the bottom, where six, seven, or even nine-goal thrashings are fairly common, it shows the progress of Hearts Women this term.

The most dispiriting aspect would’ve been the short time in which it took Rangers to build up an unassailable lead. On 14 minutes, Demi Vance scored with a mishit cross which deceived Hearts goalkeeper Charlotte Parker-Smith at her near post.

Jane Ross then added a second two minutes later after terrific work from her Scotland team-mate Lizzie Arnott. Arnott then provided a free-kick from which Ross capitalised after a defensive scramble, leaving the hosts in a 3-0 hole with just a quarter of the game gone.

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A disappointed Hearts captain Mariel Kaney trudges upfield as the Rangers players celebrate. Picture: David Mollison

"Personally I think we stood off at points a little too much against Rangers,” said second-half substitute Claire Delworth told the Evening News. “We can play and there's points in the first half were we showed it but we lacked the end result. We can take positives from it but there's still a lot of things we need to learn and as a team we're disappointed to lose, especially by that margin of victory.”

Hearts were a bit more competitive in the second half, including Delworth almost getting on the end of a ball in-behind before clashing with Jenna Fife, for which the Rangers keeper required treatment.

"To be honest, speaking to the keeper at the end and she wasn't really sure what happened,” explained Delworth. “Even if she got there first I needed to keep going in just in case she fumbled, the ball bounced and I got a chance to hit it. There were no hard feelings, which just get up and move on.”

In the end, the quality of the away side told, though they were helped by the award of a soft penalty after Shona Cowan was adjudged to have fouled Megan Bell, which Arnott converted.

There was no debating the excellence of Chelsea Cornet’s strike with ten minutes remaining, however, as the full-back smashed it into the top corner from distance.

With a big match against fellow relegation contenders Aberdeen next week, Hearts will have to pick themselves off the canvas. But, as Delworth puts it, a little bit of perspective is required after this one.

“It’s really frustrating as a defensive player to spoil our record,” she said. “Last season we did ship a lot in, which was well noted on social media. With the club's development it's not something we want to do, but it's important to note that these players are full-time.

"Looking at myself, I'm at placement, I'm at university and I work two jobs. Tuesday I go from placement straight to football and then home to do uni work. Then the next day it all starts again. Whereas these players are lucky enough to do that as their full-time job.”

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