Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Rangers 0.
- Championship leaders Hearts go nine points clear of Rangers
- Holt and Walker on target for hosts
- Smith sent off for visitors in first half
- Hearts still unbeaten in league, Rangers suffer third defeat
Hearts moved nine points clear at the top of the Championship as Rangers lost their discipline at Tynecastle.
Steven Smith was sent off, while Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd were both booked for reckless challenges.
Hearts took advantage with a second-half strike from Jason Holt and Jamie Walker's late penalty.
The home side coped with the occasion, with a result that increases the pressure on Rangers manager Ally McCoist.
There was no time for players to become accustomed to the ferocity of the occasion with Callum Paterson and Lee Wallace left strewn on the turf in the opening seconds.
Physical aggression was the minimum expected of every player, and composure became a victim of the frantic intensity of the game.
Rangers were initially most comfortable with the heated, full-blooded circumstances. They grabbed command of the game, while Hearts seemed to take solace in their conservatism.
The visitors hunted the ball in packs, while Hearts left Soufian El Hassnoaui stranded on his own up front against a towering, muscular back four. Yet the lack of measured thinking became detrimental to more than just the style of play.
Smith was energetically committed to the contest, but a lack of restraint led to recklessness. He hurled himself into a lunge on Paterson, with the studs of one boot showing.
He was clearly not in control of his movement, making it a dangerous challenge, and referee Craig Thomson had a straightforward decision to make in sending the player off.
Being reduced to 10 men did not immediately hamper the visitors, who remained spikily competitive and authoritative.
Bilel Mohsni, who stabbed the ball wide inside the area, Lee Wallace, who scooped a shot over, and Nicky Law, whose free-kick was pushed away, might even have opened the scoring.
Hearts eventually made sense of the bristling commotion of the game, particularly with Morgaro Gomis no longer immediately pressurised every time he received the ball.
The midfielder also curled one effort wide, while Alim Ozturk's free-kick was saved and Brad McKay's header was tipped over by Rangers goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.
The visitors had - Smith apart - coped with the pressure and the relentlessly demanding nature of the contest. They needed the interval to take stock of the situation, while Hearts could plot how to best take advantage of the visitors' disadvantage.
Rangers were further hampered when Miller was too aggressive and uncontrolled on Kevin McHattie, resulting in the Hearts player leaving the field injured and Miller being booked. McCoist decided to be cautious and substituted Miller.
Hearts were the dominant side, though, while Rangers tried to adapt. They were unable to maintain their resistance, though, and when Paterson's cross was cleared to Holt on the edge of the area the midfielder drilled the ball into the net.
Rangers briefly rallied, with Law's shot being parried away by Alexander and Lewis Macleod's effort from the rebound deflected onto the bar.
Hearts were wily enough to ensure the victory, though, establishing a strong defensive base and breaking with intent.
One counter attack ended with Walker being barged over by Black inside the penalty area. The Hearts attacker converted the spot-kick, to seal the three points and Rangers' misery.
- 2PatersonBooked at 29mins
- 3McHattieSubstituted forEckersleyat 51'minutesBooked at 60mins
- 14Pallardo GonzalezBooked at 67mins
- 6GomisBooked at 31mins
- 10HoltSubstituted forMcGheeat 84'minutes
- 9El HassnaouiSubstituted forKeatingsat 55'minutes
- 24McGregorBooked at 77mins
- 10MacleodSubstituted forBoydat 80'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 8BlackBooked at 59mins
- 2SmithBooked at 21mins
- 18MillerBooked at 48minsSubstituted forFosterat 52'minutes
- 9DalyBooked at 65minsSubstituted forClarkat 83'minutes
- Craig Thomson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Rangers 0.
Attempt saved. Richard Foster (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian).
Bilel Mohsni (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Richard Foster (Rangers).
Kris Boyd (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.
Brad McKay (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Kris Boyd (Rangers).
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 2, Rangers 0. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal.
Penalty Heart of Midlothian. Jamie Walker draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Ian Black (Rangers) after a foul in the penalty area.
Foul by James Keatings (Heart of Midlothian).
Lee McCulloch (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Foul by James Keatings (Heart of Midlothian).
Darren McGregor (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Jordan McGhee replaces Jason Holt.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Adam Eckersley.