Jon Daly strengthened his case for the Hearts head coach's job with a goalless draw against Rangers at Ibrox. Although under pressure for most of the second half, the Tynecastle side defended resolutely to take a point back east.
Daly is keen to showcase his credentials for the managerial vacancy at Tynecastle and this result will only help. With Steven Pressley, Paul Hartley and others competing for the position, the Irishman can be content that he has got a good response from the side since take over temporarily after Ian Cathro's sacking.
Rangers enjoyed plenty of possession during the 90 minutes but lacked the guile to open up their opponents. The visitors were well-organised if rarely threatening as an attacking force. They were applauded off by travelling fans at full-time, but the home support jeered those in blue shirts from the field.
Daly showed gumption by selecting winger Jamie Walker in Hearts' starting line-up whilst Rangers try to prise him away from Tynecastle. He became the focus of attention at kick-off, although home fans at Ibrox were rightly more concerned with their team's response to last weekend's defeat by Hibs.
They would have taken a 1-0 lead inside ten minutes but for Christophe Berra's goal-preventing challenge to stifle a shot by Rangers forward Kenny Miller. Seven minutes later, Berra's central defensive partner John Souttar strode forward to crash a 30-yard drive off Wes Foderingham's crossbar. Both incidents were evidence of a very even start to the match.
Souttar's timely tackle on Josh Windass just inside the Hearts penalty area on the half-hour mark was just as crucial as Berra's, with Windass about to strike. Rangers were enjoying a considerable amount of space in midfield as Ryan Jack and, in particular, Graham Dorrans dictated play.
The hosts came close again ten minutes from the break as they finished the first period strongest. Daniel Candeias' corner was met by defender Bruno Alves, who was unmarked. His header looped towards the back post but Michael Smith cleared almost from the goal line. Then, from Lee Wallace's cross, Miller took a touch and fired goalwards but Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton made an instinctive and important save with his legs.
Hearts sat deep at the start of the second half and came forward only through counter-attacks. Walker had been quiet in an advanced central midfield position and found himself replaced by Krystian Nowak on 63 minutes. Prince Buaben also entered the fray in place of Connor Randall.
Rangers increased the pressure entering the final 20 minutes and might have scored from Alfredo Morelos' low drive across the face of Hamilton's goal. Hearts substitute Rafal Grzelak then had to clear Ryan Hardie's header inside his own six-yard area.
There was a chance for the visitors to steal three points with only minutes left but Kyle Lafferty couldn't quite get his foot to Don Cowie's free-kick as it landed at the back post. After four minutes of stoppage-time, referee Willie Collum blew the final whistle to confirm a useful result for Hearts to take back to Edinburgh.
Rangers (4-4-2): Foderingham; Tavernier, Cardoso, Alves, Wallace; Candeias, Jack, Dorrans, Windass; Miller, Morelos.
52: Kranjcar for Windass
72: Hardie for Dorrans
Unused subs: Alnwick, Wilson, Hodson, Rossiter, Pena.
Hearts (4-2-3-1): Hamilton; Brandon, Souttar, Berra, M Smith; Randall, Djoum; Cowie, Walker, Lafferty; Goncalves.
63: Nowak for Walker
63: Buaben for Randall
76: Grzelak for Brandon
Unused subs: Noring, Hughes, Stockton, Zanatta.
Referee: Willie Collum.