London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20080816
<-Page <-Team Sat 16 Aug 2008 Rangers 2 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Barry Anderson auth-> Stuart Dougal
Mikoliunas Saulius [K Lafferty 37] ;[K Boyd pen 91]
7 of 023 ----- L SPL A

Rangers 2-0 Hearts

Rangers 2, Hearts 0

Lafferty (37), Boyd (pen 90)
CSABA LASZLO suffered his first defeat as Hearts manager as Saulius Mikoliunas once again incurred a red card against Rangers which left his ten remaining colleagues facing an impossible task.

Trailing to a Kyle Lafferty goal, Mikoliunas was cautioned for diving and then received a dubious second booking for a late tackle - all within seven minutes of entering the field as substitute. The Lithuanian will protest his innocence over the second incident but could have few complaints over the first. He has now collected three red cards against the Ibrox club in three and a half years in Scotland.

Kris Boyd completed the scoring with a last-minute penalty, struck past debutant Jamie MacDonald who replaced Steve Banks in the Hearts goal. The Englishman may have played his last game for the Tynecastle club but his deputy could not be blamed for either goal and performed admirably on a difficult occasion.

The wisdom of granting MacDonald his competitive debut in such a pressurised environment looked debatable prior to kick-off. He at least possessed experience of facing Rangers having been a losing Scottish Cup finalist last season whilst on loan at Queen of the South, but a high octane league match at Ibrox presented a new challenge for the Broxburn-born goalkeeper. Vladimir Romanov watched from the directors' box as Hearts' most recent signing, Slovakian goalkeeper Marian Kello, took a place on the bench ahead of Banks.

Rangers fielded their new recruits, defender Madjid Bougherra and former Portsmouth midfielder Pedro Mendes, whose responsibility it was to be a creative hub in place of the injured Barry Ferguson. He initiated the game's first clear opening on ten minutes, a loping ball glanced on by Andrius Velicka to Kris Boyd, however MacDonald was alert to the striker's attempted lob.

Velicka, facing his former colleagues for the first time since joining Rangers, was a particular aerial threat during the game's early stages. Hearts strove to adhere to a controlled passing approach but meaty challenges quickly became the order of the day, and Lafferty was fortunate to escape punishment for wreckless tackles on Larry Kingston and Marius Zaliukas. The left flank, occupied by Lafferty, was where the hosts channelled most of their attacks, making Jason's Thomson's afternoon an awkward one.

From perhaps their only first-half venture down the right, Rangers opened the scoring on 37 minutes. Bougherra showed sound technique to scamper past Lee Wallace and his low cutback somehow eluded three visiting players before being stroked into the net by Lafferty from 18 yards.

MacDonald moved swiftly out from his goalmouth to block Boyd's effort early in the second period, and shortly after Hearts fashioned their first clear chance. Andy Driver's strike from an acute angle was partially cleared and landed kindly for the onrunning Audrius Ksanavicius. His first-time shot was low and powerful but Allan McGregor's reactions were sprightly enough to smother the ball.

The second half progressed with Rangers in command, as had been the case for most of the first 45 minutes. Substitute DaMarcus Beasley skipped past Thomson, Zaliukas and MacDonald but the subsequent cross did not pinpoint a team-mate.

Laszlo sought to rejuvenate his side by introducing Christian Nade and Mikoliunas, but the latter was quickly cautioned for a dive whilst attempting to evade Sasa Papac and would surely have rued the act moments later when he was red carded for a second bookable offence. It must be said that the Lithuanian made little if any contact with a sliding challenge on Kenny Miller, however referee Stuart Dougal ajudged a foul and produced the second yellow. Mikoliunas, perceiving another injustice against Rangers, jogged from the field mouthing "I never touched him" to his manager.

With ten men Hearts' task became evermore demanding but a convincing penalty shout was waved away by Dougal with four minutes remaining. Driver fired a bouncing ball goalwards from 16 yards which appeared to strike the arm of Bougherra, however the referee dismissed the claim.

Seconds from time, Wallace was penalised for fouling Miller in the penalty area and Boyd slotted the second goal past MacDonald from the penalty spot.

Rangers (4-4-2): McGregor; Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac; McCulloch, Mendes, Thomson, Lafferty; Boyd, Velicka. Subs: Alexander, Miller 60 (for McCulloch), Darcheville 82 (for Velicka), Beasley 63 (for Lafferty), Dailly, Furman, Fleck.

Hearts (4-4-1-1): MacDonald; Thomson, Zaliukas, Berra, Wallace; Kingston, Karipidis, Stewart, Driver; Ksanavicius, Mole. Subs: Kello, Palazuelos, Mikoliunas 66 (for Kingston), Nade 50 (for Ksanavicius), Makela, Cesnauskis 75 (for Mole), Jonsson.

Referee: Stuart Dougal.

Attendance: 48,191.

Taken from the Scotsman

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