Maroon Memories: Rangers blown away by dominant Hearts
Hearts 4, Rangers 2m, September 15, 2007
HEARTS scored four goals over Rangers in a league match for the first time in 71 years at Tynecastle.
The Ibrox side were blown away by the start the Jambos made in the opening 30 minutes as they sailed into a two-goal lead.
Walter Smith’s men weren’t helped by the ill-effects displayed from their midweek exertions with several players on international duty, including Barry Ferguson, who sat out the first half having been part of the Scotland side who recorded a 1-0 victory away to France in Paris.
Lee McCulloch was rested altogether. Of the four Ibrox employees who played active parts in the Parc des Princes, only Alan Hutton and David Weir started. An injury to Andy Webster left Smith with no option but to push his 37-year-old centre-back through another draining 90 minutes.
Carlos Cuellar had won rightful plaudits for his combativeness and composure since arriving at Ibrox in the preceding summer. These two qualities deserted him in the opening period - in spectacular fashion, as Hearts ran riot.
He looked off the pace from the moment he careered through the home side’s creative fulcrum, Andrius Ksanavicius, as if he were a runaway train in the seventh minute.
Another injudicious intervention from Cuellar five minutes later and Hearts were deservedly ahead. The Spaniard seemed too mesmerised by Ksanavicius’s edge-of-the-box trickery to realise that by sliding in he was merely knocking the ball straight to Andy Driver. His effort from wide on the left was a mighty hit, but appeared to require a nick off Hutton’s thigh to go in past Allan McGregor via the far post.
Cuellar was the unwitting architect of a second for the home side in the 26th minute. A hit and hope from Ibrahim Tall at the edge of the box wickedly deflected off the foot of the centre-back and looped up and over the helpless McGregor.
Rangers were by then well out of it, and remained so until Robbie Neilson clattered Ferguson in the box. That allowed Gabonese striker Daniel Cousin to convert and the visitng Rangers fans to contemplate a turnaround with a 42 minutes left.
Those thoughts did not survive for long as Hutton made a truly daft challenge on Lithuanian winger Kestutis Ivaskevicius that allowed Stewart to make it 3-1 from the spot on 70 minutes.
Rangers were bedraggled when Ivaskevicius added a fourth for Hearts after he turned inside from the left and fired in a low effort.
When DaMarcus Beasley did likewise two minutes later, neither he nor any team-mates showed any emotion. From the point the scoreline read 2-0, they appeared to accept it would be Hearts’ day.
Hearts: Banks, Neilson, Wallace, Tall, Stewart, Berra, Kingston, Zaliukas, Nade, Ksanavicius, Driver.