Hearts 1-2 Rangers: Steven Gerrard hails 'big win' as Ibrox side go top

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard celebrates
Steven Gerrard thought his side dominated most of the game

Steven Gerrard says the way his Rangers side recovered from Europa League duty to overcome Hearts was more important than going top of the Premiership.

Rangers came from behind to win 2-1 and overtake city rivals Celtic by a point.

"The pressure comes from behind now and they have games in hand, but that's not important right now for me," the manager told BT Sport.

"What's important is it's our first big win against a rival away from home and we'll take belief from it."

Gerrard pointed out that, while Rangers were drawing 0-0 with Villarreal, the home side had a whole week to prepare.

"The lads have shown unbelievable mental strength and character," he said. "We emptied it on Thursday night and had 72 hours to recover.

"Hearts before the game were talking about energy and intensity, but we were the fitter team - and the better team."

Rangers recovered from a Gareth McAuley own goal to reply through Connor Goldson and Alfredo Morelos but finished the game with 10 men after Scott Arfield was sent off for a reckless challenge on goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal.

It was the seventh red card shown to a Rangers player this season, although one of those was rescinded.

"Scott's late and he knows he is," Gerrard said. "I've no complaints, but he isn't a dirty player and we aren't a dirty team, even though we keep getting red cards.

"Scott sees the keeper has it in one hand and goes for it and, by the time he gets there, he has it in two hands, so he is late.

"We're getting used to playing with 10 men and we're quite good at it. We've had enough rehearsals."

Rangers' Scott Arfield slides in on Zdenek Zlamal
Gerrard had no complaints after Scott Arfield was sent off for sliding in on Zdenek Zlamal

Hearts manager Craig Levein was critical of referee Bobby Madden, suggesting "it was like playing against 12 men" and asking why Morelos was dealt so leniently for a series of fouls.

However, Gerrard suggested the match officials "were excellent" and "strong".

The Rangers boss let out a roar of delight at full-time after what he described as "a big result".

"You've got to be resilient in this league, especially against teams like Hearts, who don't go away," he added. "No matter what the scoreline is, they keep coming and they've got a manager who fires them up.

"They were better for the first 20 minutes but we completely dominated the game thereafter."

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