London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 21 Mar 2009 Rangers 2 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Lisa Gray auth-> Craig Thomson
[K Lafferty 9] ;[B Ferguson 45]
24 of 031 Hristos Karipidis 64 ;Ruben Palazuelos 67 L SPL A

Rangers 2 Hearts 2

Lisa Gray, PA Sport Chief Scottish Football Writer
Rangers were held to a draw by Hearts at Ibrox as their hopes of claiming the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League title diminished further with a 2-2 home draw with Hearts

Walter Smith's men appeared to be cruising following goals from Kyle Lafferty and Barry Ferguson but were pegged back by a Hearts side who had been ineffective for an hour before Christos Karipidis and Ruben Palazuelos struck.

The result means Celtic are now in a position to extend their lead to five points at the summit if they beat Dundee United on Sunday.

Rangers were forced to go with a makeshift central defence of Lee McCulloch and Christian Dailly after both Madjid Bougherra and Kirk Broadfoot failed late fitness tests, with David Weir also absent through suspension.

But, far from take advantage of any defensive frailties within the Rangers rearguard, Hearts were forced to deal with most of the pressure in the first half.

Rangers knew they needed a positive reaction following the defeat to Celtic in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final.

Steven Whittaker called Jamie MacDonald - in for the suspended Janos Balogh - into action early on with a superb volley from distance which the Hearts goalkeeper smothered at the post.

But MacDonald was plucking the ball out of the back of the net with nine minutes gone.

DaMarcus Beasley pounced on a bad pass from David Obua before setting up Lafferty for the shot as he bore down on goal and clinically slotted home.

Rangers could have added to their lead when Steven Davis delivered into the path of Whittaker a few yards out after good work from Lafferty but the full-back poked agonisingly wide of the upright.

There was concern for Rangers when Lafferty pulled up with an ankle injury and, despite initially returning to the pitch after treatment, he was eventually forced out of the action and replaced by Nacho Novo 10 minutes before half-time.

Rangers pushed for a second goal and Barry Ferguson teed up the shot for Davis, whose thunderous strike was deflected just inches wide of target.

But it was the skipper himself who found the back of the net on the stroke of half-time when Mendes rolled the ball to Ferguson in plenty of space and he lashed home from six yards.

Ferguson could have added to his tally shortly after the restart but blasted well over from a Novo lay-off. Novo then squandered a great chance when he raced onto a Davis pass and smacked his shot off the post.

The warning signs arrived for Rangers when substitute Calum Elliot drew an excellent save from goalkeeper Allan McGregor, before Hearts pulled a goal back after 64 minutes.

A Bruno Aguiar corner sparked a goalmouth scramble before the ball broke to Karipidis who nodded home despite Beasley's attempted goal-line clearance.

Hearts were then back on level terms just three minutes later. Obua did well to beat Sasa Papac before passing to Elliot who nodded into the path of Palazuelos to drive low into the net.

Rangers pushed forward in search of the goal that would put them back in front but Mendes saw his volley blocked by MacDonald.

The midfielder was then booked for diving after appearing to be tripped on the edge of the box by Aguiar.

Instead it was Hearts who could have snatched victory at the end when McGregor was called into action to tip wide from Elliot before Rangers left the pitch to jeers at the final whistle.


Rangers McGregor, Whittaker, Dailly, McCulloch, Papac, Davis,Mendes, Ferguson, Beasley (Naismith 74), Lafferty (Novo 36),Boyd.

Subs Not Used: Alexander, Edu, Miller, Fleck, Wilson.

Booked: Mendes.

Goals: Lafferty 9, Ferguson 45.

Hearts MacDonald, Neilson, Karipidis, Zaliukas, Lee Wallace,Cesnauskis (Elliot 46), Stewart, Aguiar, Palazuelos, Obua,Nade (Tullberg 72).

Subs Not Used: Ridgers, Jonsson, Mikoliunas, Mrowiec, Templeton.

Booked: Nade, Tullberg, Aguiar.

Goals: Karipidis 64, Palazuelos 67.

Att: 50,310

Ref: C Thomson (Scotland).

Taken from

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