What Rangers boss Steven Gerrard had to say about Hearts' performance and the two players he praised

Prior to the Hearts v Rangers clash on Sunday, Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard warned his side about the difficulty of playing at Tynecastle Park.

By Joel Sked
Monday, 21st October 2019, 5:55 pm
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was full of praise for Hearts. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was full of praise for Hearts. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

He said on Friday: “It will be a tough and we have to find the level required to get the win. On our previous visits we had strong performances at Tynecastle and we need the same again, it is not a place you can go and under-perform.”

The players did not heed his warning as Hearts started ferociously, hitting the bar before Ryotaro Meshino opened the scoring.

Alfredo Morelos equalised for the visitors before the interval but the home side equalled them after the break in a tight second half.

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Gerrard lamented the performance of his side and called them "lucky".

“Today we didn’t start the game well enough," he said. "I thought we were poor in the early exchanges and were lucky not to be 2-0 down.

“Hearts had a fantastic header which hit the bar but we need to be doing better to stop the cross and we need to be heading those situations away.

“Then we did go a goal behind and Hearts deserved it at that stage, although it was an individual error again which cost us."

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The Liverpool legend labelled Hearts "terrific", praising their physical approach, pinpointing two players who impressed him.

“You know that’s always going to be the case here. I said before the game that you need to come to a place like this with the right focus and mentality, to fight and compete, to earn the right to play.

“Hearts are not going to give it to you, especially where they are in the table.

“Craig was always going to have them fired up to try and make it a physical encounter. His players were terrific for him today. They maxed out and gave him everything they’ve got. But we prepared for that. We’ve had some good training time and we told the players what to expect.

“We knew it was going to be played direct into Uche Ikpeazu up front and we knew he was going to try to have a wrestle and a war. I think we stood up a lot of it but sometimes the big guy is unplayable. He’s a right handful.

“But I don’t think that’s the reason why we dropped two points today. I just think collectively, as a team, we haven’t started in the right frame of mind.

“Craig got out of his team exactly what he would have wanted – a lot of fight. They competed well and showed moments of quality.

He added: "The goal, from their point of view, was a good goal. But it’s disappointing from our point of view. It’s more of a positive result for them. I’m sure they’ll be a lot happier out of the two teams. But I was impressed with Meshino, he did well."