Ian Cathro's finest hour as Hearts thump Rangers

Tynecastle rocking as Jamie Walker hits a double

By Barry Anderson
Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 7:00 pm
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro celebrates during the 4-1 rout of Rangers.

The words of Rangers manager Mark Warburton at full-time summed up the impact of Ian Cathro’s finest hour as Hearts head coach.

“We've just lost 4-1. We're Rangers Football Club, we don't lose 4-1,” said Warburton, adding: “Tonight, the second half was as bad as we've played in 18 months, if not the worst.

“We win together and we lose together but that was way below the levels of Rangers Football Club.”

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February 1, 2017, would become the apex of Cathro’s ill-fated seven-month spell at Tynecastle Park. A scintillating display brought a resounding victory and led to much anger within the Rangers camp.

That probably added to the sense of satisfaction enveloping Gorgie that night as Hearts briefly threatened to become a considerable force under Cathro.

He had replaced Robbie Neilson two months previously and endured a somewhat unconvincing first few weeks in the job. The Rangers match hinted at his team’s potential.

The energy and tenacity shown by Hearts was on a different level as the likes of Perry Kitchen, Malaury Martin and Don Cowie led by example in midfield.

Esmael Goncalves was a constant menace in attack and Aaron Hughes offered calm assurance in defence. However, the star of the evening was two-goal Jamie Walker.

Rangers’ interest in signing the winger intensified after he ripped their defence apart, much to the delight of the Tynecastle regulars.

It was Hearts who scored first on three minutes through defender Krystian Nowak. Cowie’s quick free-kick released Andraz Struna on the right and his cross was headed home powerfully by the Pole.

Emerson Hyndman restored parity for the visitors when Hearts failed to clear a corner, but after the interval Hearts’ play assumed a new level of intensity.

Walker scored four minutes after the restart with his first of the evening. He dispossessed a dithering Andy Halliday and unleashed a 25-yard strike which screamed into the corner of the net.

Cowie made it 3-1 by tapping the ball home from close range after a dribbling run and low cross by striker Bjorn Johnsen.

The Norwegian played a central role in the final goal which completed the scoring despite the clock showing 27 minutes remaining.

Cowie’s deep cross from the right invited Johnsen to challenge the Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham in the air. Neither won the duel but the loose ball was expertly side-footed home by Walker.

The away support – those who were left, that is – left Warburton in no doubt about their feelings at full-time whilst Hearts fans rejoiced.

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