London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 07 Aug 1993 Rangers 2 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Sandy Clark <-auth James Traynor auth-> AM Roy
[D Hagen 45] ;[M Hateley 68]
1 of 001 Ian Ferguson 86 L Premier A

Not a lot of style, but still another triumph for Rangers just the same


9 Aug 1993

THERE were references to Goughy, Durranty, Coisty, and Hagey.

Obscenities were flying in the breezes and the ball was bouncing around, often out of control.

It's good to be back.

I think.

Rangers' first serious outing since having locked away the Scottish Cup, the third part of last season's treble, was hardly thrilling, but they continued in a familiar vein.

Injury legacies from the last campaign and pre-season work forced Walter Smith to improvise again, and those chosen did just enough to secure a win.

The manner in which they did so was raw and unsophisticated, but it was effective enough against Hearts who had been hoping to take advantage of Rangers' difficulties.

The Tynecastle side and all the others are aware they must take points from Rangers in the early days of the season while the likes of Ally McCoist, Duncan Ferguson, Andy Goram, David Robertson, and Gary Stevens are unavailable if this campaign is to follow a different pattern from the last one.

Hearts tried hard but lacked a finishing touch.

The nomadic Justin Fashanu was used up front, and although he upset Rangers' defensive line with his aggressive play, his striking partner, John Robertson, was out of touch.

In fact, before the end, both had been withdrawn and although Hearts scored -- actually John Brown scored on their behalf when his head got in the way of a Tosh McKinlay near-post cross -- Rangers were comfortable enough winners.

However, it was a triumph without style.

Both Smith and Hearts' manager Sandy Clark found aspects of the 90 minutes which pleased them, but in the privacy of their own homes later on Saturday night, they probably brooded long and hard.

The official lines were that the match had been scrappy, but the truth is the game was dreadful.

Players seemed determined to give the ball away -- a premier division trait -- and his own team's failings made Smith one of the most animated spectators in the centre stand.

He kept running his hands over his head as moves broke down and players ran out of position, but at least the two points were consolation while Clark could only find solace in his team's refusal to be subdued.

Hearts, according to Clark, will try to play open football without being suicidal about it, as Falkirk were last season, but his players will have to employ a greater feel for the ball.

In other words, they will have to keep the ball to themselves for longer periods.

They will also have to tighten the defensive unit, which might happen when Alan McLaren returns from injury in a month or so.

The Scottish international defender is one of the most promising talents in the country and Hearts need him.

Perhaps David Hagen and Mark Hateley would have found space more restricted had McLaren been around and Hearts' defence, which did a decent job of looking after Rangers' front players, would not have conceded two goals.

Hagen claimed the first, in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half, and was assisted marvellously by Hearts' keeper Henry Smith, who moved to cut out Alexei Mikhailichenko's corner from the right and succeeded only in dropping the ball at Hagen's feet.

He wriggled into a shooting position and found the net.

Midway in the second half, Craig Levein clattered into Hateley who required treatment for a minute or two before rising to provide the perfect response to his opponent.

He was on his feet in time to move into the box to receive Ian Durrant's corner from the right.

Hateley was allowed the freedom to leap and head powerfully beyond Smith.

Rangers' 2-1 win was not without cost because Stuart McCall, who has been feeling the effects of a groin strain for several months, had to stop early in the second half to prevent further aggravation.

His place was taken by Durrant.

The Ibrox side have come to expect injuries, but as Hateley pointed out after the match, another two or three on top of those already on the sick list would leave the side dangerously weak and exposed to defeat.

"If we lose any more players we will be forced to field a team without experience," he said.

Already they are having to rely more than they would like on inexperienced players like Steven Pressley, Neil Murray, and Hagen, which can be dangerous in the early stages of a league campaign when all teams are fresh and eager.

However, Trevor Steven, who has recovered from injury, will be expecting to have his own first-team midfield place back soon, which should help Rangers apply a more cultured touch to their matches.

Taken from the Herald

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