Hearts 1-2 Rangers: It was like playing 12 men, says Craig Levein

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'It was like playing 12 men' - Hearts boss Levein criticises referee Madden

Hearts manager Craig Levein was left furious with referee Bobby Madden after losing 2-1 to Rangers, saying "it was like playing against 12 men".

Levein was upset by Alfredo Morelos' winning goal, which was scored from an offside position.

He also questioned the treatment of the Rangers striker, who was involved in a series of skirmishes with Hearts captain Christophe Berra.

"I've lost my voice from shouting at the referee," Levein told BBC Scotland.

"It was a terrible performance - it really was. How Morelos gets away with what he gets away with, I just don't understand.

"It was like, as [Hibs manager] Neil Lennon said after going to Celtic Park, playing against 12 men.

"How many fouls can Morelos give away without being booked? The one where he jumped into Berra off the ball, the referee said he's just a bit silly sometimes.

"That's what he told one of our players. Now, if you jump into somebody, I don't care if you're silly or not, it's a booking."

Hearts were rewarded for an enterprising start at Tynecastle when Gareth McAuley knocked in an own goal from a Marcus Godinho cross.

But Rangers hit back with Connor Goldson equalising from close range and Morelos delivering the decisive goal from a free-kick before half-time.

TV replays showed Morelos and other Rangers players were offside, with Levein left to bemoan the performance of the officials.

"We've lost a few goals at set-pieces which have been offside, like today's," he explained.

"We asked the question of the referee supervisor why the linesmen keep making mistakes. He said that it's easier for them if you hold the line on the 18-yard line.

"We did that today and he still got it wrong. I don't know what [head of referee development] John Fleming's next suggestion will be - maybe making sure his officials do their jobs properly."

New Premiership leaders Rangers lost Scott Arfield to a second-half red card but held on to consign Hearts to their fourth successive league defeat. Despite losing more ground, Levein was pleased with his side.

"I was delighted with the players, the effort after recent difficult times and everything they did to try and win," he said.

"I was delighted with our support. And I felt that, on another day, that's a game we could have won. Things are difficult for us just now and the last thing we need was to play against 12 men."

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