Rangers v Hearts: Ibrox side have suffered run of semi-final torment

Scottish League Cup, semi-final: Rangers v Hearts
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 3 November Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website

Played five, lost five, scored none, conceded 10. That is Rangers' recent record in domestic cup semi-finals.

The numbers make for bleak reading and manager Steven Gerrard knows all too well that, for all the progress made in his near 18 months in charge, silverware is what will define his tenure at Ibrox.

As they prepare to face a stuttering Hearts side in the League Cup semi-final on Sunday, the club will be desperate to end that hoodoo, which would further evidence their improvement.

But what can they learn from recent losses? BBC Scotland takes a look back at Rangers' recent painful memories at Hampden.

Dembele's late show

Rangers 0-1 Celtic, League Cup, 23 October 2016

Having been hammered 5-1 at Celtic Park in the league just a month earlier, this performance can be viewed as a vast improvement defensively, though with little to show in an attacking sense for Rangers.

Then under the stewardship of Mark Warburton, the Ibrox side weathered a Celtic storm well, threatened sparsely on the break, before being sunk by Moussa Dembele's cute backheeled finish three minutes from time. Having knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup on penalties at the end of the previous season, this was to be the start of the semi-final rot.

Dembele's late flick start the semi-final struggles for Rangers
Dembele's late flick starts the semi-final struggles for Rangers

Caixinha's first loss an omen

Celtic 2-0 Rangers, Scottish Cup, 23 April 2017

Fast-forward to the tail end of the season and Warburton had been sacked and replaced by the little heard of Portuguese coach Pedro Caixinha, but the result was no different.

Rangers were unbeaten under Caixinha up until this Scottish Cup last-four tie, but Celtic once again asserted their dominance over their rivals, Callum McGregor side-footing the ball in after just 11 minutes and Scott Sinclair's penalty wrapped up the win. In truth, it could have been more as Rangers again fired a blank when it mattered.

Pedro Caixinha's appointment did not change Rangers fortunes against their rivals
Caixinha's appointment did not change Rangers' fortunes against their rivals

Magnificent Moult helps end Caixinha's tenure

Rangers 0-2 Motherwell, League Cup, 22 October 2017

The first two matches in this dreadful run were both against a Celtic side who would go on to complete the first of three consecutive trebles, and did so without losing a single domestic game.

Caixinha's Rangers, despite starting the season on the back foot with a humiliating Europa League elimination at the hands of Progres Niederkorn, were this time favourites to beat Motherwell at Hampden, but the result was exactly the same. Louis Moult put in an inspired performance as he notched a double - including a delicious lob for his second - to put the Fir Park club into the final.

In Rangers' next match, they drew 1-1 with Kilmarnock, and that was the end for Caixinha at Ibrox after just seven months.

Moult's heroic double for Motherwell sunk Rangers and effectively ended Caixinha's tenure
Moult's heroic double for Motherwell sunk Rangers and effectively ended Caixinha's tenure

Halliday's humiliation & dressing room bust up

Celtic 4-0 Rangers, Scottish Cup, 15 April 2018

Now with Graeme Murty in temporary charge, Rangers once again faced double treble-chasing rivals Celtic in the last four of a domestic cup. The afternoon was to be as shambolic as it was possible to be for the men in blue.

Two down after 38 minutes, Rangers were already chasing shadows when Murty decided to substitute Andy Halliday before half time. The midfielder and boyhood Rangers fan was visibly angered at the decision, and to make matters worse he was ironically serenaded off the Hampden pitch by the gleeful Celtic support.

His team-mates fared no better with him off the pitch, with Ross McCrorie being sent off and Celtic adding a further two goals from the spot.

As if that wasn't enough, two days later the club suspended striker Kenny Miller and captain Lee Wallace for an alleged angry exchange with Murty in the Hampden dressing room after the match. Miller would not play for the club again, and Wallace made just three appearances the following season.

Celtic fans took great joy in Halliday's substitution before half time
Celtic fans took great joy in Halliday's substitution before half time

Sadiq suffers as Aberdeen dent Gerrard's hopes

Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers, League Cup, 28 October 2018

With a renewed sense of optimism following Gerrard's appointment at the end of the previous season, Rangers marched towards yet another semi-final, with Aberdeen the team standing in their way.

Despite dominating possession, they were without their two main strikers in the suspended Alfredo Morelos and the cup-tied Kyle Lafferty. As a result, Rangers were forced to start on-loan Roma striker Umar Sadiq for the first, and only, time.

After a bright enough start, the then 21-year-old was booked for diving and then put in an ineffectual display - including being caught offside on numerous occasions - which ended his Ibrox career before it started.

Rangers mustered just a single shot on target from their total of 15 attempts, and then Aberdeen midfielder - nephew of former Rangers captain and legend Barry Ferguson - rose high to nod in the winner 11 minutes from time.

Ferguson's late header ensured Gerrard tasted defeat in his first semi-final in charge of Rangers
Ferguson's late header ensured Gerrard tasted defeat in his first semi-final in charge of Rangers

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport

Elsewhere on the BBC