‘They’re a two-man team’: Journalists’ predictions for Rangers v Hearts
Our online team give their predictions as Hearts travel to Ibrox looking to pull off a shock result and give their hopes of finishing third a real boost.
Mark Atkinson: The absence of Uche Ikpeazu will hamper Hearts in the final third. Granted, Rangers will be without Alfredo Morelos, but their greater squad depth will cover for the Colombian’s suspension. Rangers will also be wounded from a sore defeat by Celtic and, in front of an expectant Ibrox, will be eager to get back to winning ways. Home win.
Craig Fowler: Hearts showed on Saturday that they’re not a one-man team as they won for the third time since Steven Naismith suffered his latest knee injury. However, those with a proper understanding of the Tynecastle first-team could have told you all along they were never a one-man team - they’re a two-man team: Naismith and Ikpeazu. The big man will be absent along with his more experienced strike-partner for the trip to Ibrox after suffering a head knock against Aberdeen. Without him there’s little chance of Hearts getting a result at a ground they’ve struggled at over the past three years, even if the hosts are missing a few key players themselves. Prediction: Rangers win
Anthony Brown: Hearts have a grim record at Ibrox, so much so that even when they played well there back in October, they still lost 3-1. Both teams are missing their main striker, but Rangers, who possess a greater goal threat among their remaining attacking players, look the likelier winners. Home win
Patrick McPartlin: Heading to a stadium that hasn’t heralded much joy over the past few years, without your first-choice full-backs and first-choice strikers and against a Rangers team still licking their wounds from another Old Firm defeat that probably all but secured an eighth title for Celtic looks like a daunting trip for Hearts on the surface. However, the Light Blues haven’t won in five and are without Morelos. They’ll need their remaining attackers to step up and too often this season they haven’t delivered. I’m not sure Hearts have a win in them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they frustrate Rangers. Prediction: Draw
Neil McGlade: Hearts haven’t fared well in Glasgow for a number of years now and are long overdue a positive result. Although Rangers will be without talisman Morelos, the Jambos are handicapped by the loss of Ikpeazu. Craig Levein might be tempted to have a bit more of a go at Ibrox but that could leave them vulnerable at the back. Steven Gerrard will expect nothing less than three points following an Old Firm defeat. Home win
Joel Sked: Two wins at Ibrox in nearly 15 years. Even with Rangers missing Morelos fans don’t travel along the M8 with much confidence. It is unlikely Levein goes with as an attacking team as he did in the first trip to Govan this season, especially without Ikpeazu and Naismith. Hearts will likely aim to frustrate and hit on the counter. Keeping it tight early on is imperative. Narrow Rangers win.
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