Scottish Premiership
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Rangers 3-0 Hearts: Steven Gerrard's side end five-game run without win

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Highlights: Rangers 3-0 Heart of Midlothian

Rangers put their costly Old Firm derby defeat behind them with a commanding win over Hearts as they look to delay Celtic's Scottish Premiership title celebrations.

With the Ibrox side 13 points behind, Celtic could win the title this weekend should Rangers lose at Motherwell.

A Jermain Defoe volley and a Connor Goldson header had a dominant home team two ahead of Hearts within 21 minutes.

Scott Arfield added the third after Zdenek Zlamal saved a Defoe effort.

A first win in six games moves Steven Gerrard's side eight points clear of third-placed Kilmarnock after Steve Clarke's side drew with Hibernian.

The result from Easter Road inches Hearts' city rivals to within a point of Craig Levein's fifth-placed side, who have now lost their last six meetings with Rangers - and their last four at Ibrox.

Rangers deal better with absentees

Rangers had gone into the game knowing that a defeat either against Hearts or Motherwell could allow Celtic to clinch an eighth title in a row this weekend.

That might have influenced their decision not to accept Ryan Kent's two-game ban after shoving Celtic captain Scott Brown on Sunday. His case will be heard on Thursday, meaning he was free to play.

Rangers were, though, without Alfredo Morelos, who was serving the first of a four-game suspension after being sent off against Celtic - his fifth red card of the season. Andy Halliday was also banned.

But Gerrard was able to call on a former England international in the shape of Defoe, and the on-loan Bournemouth striker quickly showed his predatory instincts.

The veteran found the net within two minutes when Ryan Jack flicked the ball through after John Souttar dallied on the edge of his own penalty box. An offside flag saved Hearts on that occasion, but Hearts failed to heed the warnings.

When Arfield's flick put James Tavernier clear, the full-back's effort was blocked by Zlamal and Defoe found the roof of the net.

Tavernier was again the supplier shortly afterwards as his curling free-kick found Goldson stooping unmarked behind a statuesque central defence.

A little more than 20 minutes on the clock and Hearts were two behind without having planted a foot inside the Rangers penalty box.

Directionless and toothless devoid of the injured Uche Ikpeazu and Steven Naismith, Hearts remained dangerous at set-pieces and a Christophe Berra header from their first corner not only forced a finger-tip save from goalkeeper Allan McGregor but inspired a late first-half flurry from the visitors.

Berra sent another effort off the crossbar, although the centre-half was offside in any case, but Hearts were unable to build on that promise after the break.

The second half was only three minutes old when Tavernier's low cross found Defoe at the front post and, when the striker's shot was saved by Zlamal, Arfield was on hand to finish.

Rangers winger Eros Grezda sent a header against a post, while Hearts substitute Olly Lee forced a save from McGregor and Jamie Brandon was denied by the upright, but the game was long finished as a contest.

'I just want to consign it to the bin' - reaction

Jermain Defoe had an effort disallowed before scoring the opener for Rangers
Jermain Defoe had an effort disallowed before scoring the opener for Rangers

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told Rangers TV: "We made it comfortable with the way we started the game. I thought we were excellent.

"We came out the blocks, played with energy, intensity and we passed the ball very well - and Hearts found it very difficult to live with us.

"We got sloppy in the last 20 minutes, but I would have probably predicted that before the game with the shift they put in with 10 men at Celtic Park."

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "It was a poor performance. Admittedly we were missing Uche - he provides us with more aggression and the ability to retain the ball in the final third.

"We didn't quite have that, which does get disappointing, particularly for defenders continually defending.

"But we just didn't do enough and I just want to consign it to the bin and think about Saturday."

Line-ups

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 3Worrall
  • 15FlanaganBooked at 40mins
  • 10Davis
  • 8JackSubstituted forMcCrorieat 61'minutes
  • 37ArfieldSubstituted forGrezdaat 68'minutes
  • 18Kamara
  • 14Kent
  • 9DefoeSubstituted forLaffertyat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Lafferty
  • 13Foderingham
  • 17McCrorie
  • 19Katic
  • 21Candeias
  • 23Coulibaly
  • 35Grezda

Hearts

  • 1Zlamal
  • 4Souttar
  • 6Berra
  • 3Shaughnessy
  • 25Brandon
  • 5Haring
  • 10Sutchuin-DjoumBooked at 67minsSubstituted forLeeat 70'minutes
  • 7Bozanic
  • 26GodinhoBooked at 57minsSubstituted forBurnsat 59'minutes
  • 15Wighton
  • 9ClareSubstituted forKeenaat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Lee
  • 13Doyle
  • 18MacLean
  • 23Mulraney
  • 28Dikamona
  • 31Burns
  • 35Keena
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
49,702

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home15
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home6
Away4
Fouls
Home12
Away18

Live Text

Match ends, Rangers 3, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Rangers 3, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Attempt missed. Olly Lee (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Foul by Kyle Lafferty (Rangers).

Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Jamie Brandon (Heart of Midlothian) hits the right post with a right footed shot from outside the box.

Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Oliver Bozanic (Heart of Midlothian).

Foul by Kyle Lafferty (Rangers).

John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt saved. Bobby Burns (Heart of Midlothian) header from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Conor Shaughnessy.

Attempt missed. Aidan Keena (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Olly Lee (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt saved. Craig Wighton (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Kyle Lafferty replaces Jermain Defoe.

Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jamie Brandon (Heart of Midlothian).

Foul by Steven Davis (Rangers).

Aidan Keena (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Eros Grezda (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Olly Lee replaces Djoum.

Foul by Joe Worrall (Rangers).

Aidan Keena (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Joe Worrall (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Oliver Bozanic (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Eros Grezda replaces Scott Arfield.

Booking

Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jermain Defoe (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Jermain Defoe (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Attempt missed. Jon Flanagan (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Craig Wighton (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Ross McCrorie replaces Ryan Jack.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic32244471175476
2Rangers32189570244663
3Kilmarnock321510744281655
4Aberdeen32167950371355
5Hearts32155123739-250
6Hibernian321310947331449
7St Johnstone32135143242-1044
8Motherwell32134153744-743
9Livingston32118133533241
10Hamilton3273222068-4824
11St Mirren3255222360-3720
12Dundee3246222566-4118
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