Rangers 3 Heart of Midlothian 0
Ladbrokes Premiership, Wednesday 3rd April 2019 – Ibrox
There was an air of inevitably in the Govan area of Glasgow on Wednesday evening as Hearts succumbed to Rangers with a performance that we’ve come to expect whenever a Craig Levein side head to the west of Scotland.
Levein made a couple changes to the team that defeated Aberdeen at Tynecastle on Saturday with Oliver Bozanic and Marcus Godinho returning to the team with Uche Ikpeazu recovering from a head knock and Jake Mulraney dropped to the bench. The lack of width and the prospect of Craig Wighton ploughing a lone furrow up front didn’t fill the travelling Maroon Army with much hope.
And so it proved. The game was barely 20 minutes old, but Hearts already found themselves two goals down. Defoe had the ball in the net after only two minutes after slack play from John Souttar but was denied by an offside flag. In the 16th minute Tavernier’s shot was blocked by Hearts keeper Bobby Zlamal, but Defoe fired home the rebound. Five minutes later the home side doubled their lead when Goldson was given the freedom of Ibrox to steer the ball past Zlamal.
At this stage Hearts had yet to enter the Rangers penalty box far less threaten a goal although they rallied briefly before half-time and Christophe Berra forced a fine save from Rangers keeper McGregor.
It was the same one-way traffic in the second half and Arfield finished the game as a contest – not that there was one – three minutes into the second half when he fired past Zlamal.
Late on, Hearts substitute Olly Lee forced a save from McGregor, but it was yet another shockingly poor performance from the Maroons at Ibrox. Craig Levein clearly has a mental block playing against the Old Firm in Glasgow and this transfers itself to his players who lack any kind of belief when playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Jack (McCrorie, 60′), Defoe (Lafferty, 77′), Davis, Kent, Flanagan, Kamara, Arfield (Grezda, 67′)
Hearts: Zlamal, Shaughnessy, Souttar, Haring, Berra, Bozanic, Clare (Keena, 58′), Djoum (Lee, 69′), Wighton, Brandon, Godinho (Burns, 58′)
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Top people: Those Hearts supporters whose unfaltering loyalty saw them head to Glasgow on a cold April evening believing their team could take something from the game. They deserve better, Mr Levein.