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Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Hearts Media auth-> Brian Winter
[K Lafferty 4]
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Single goal the difference at Ibrox

From Hearts Media at Ibrox Stadium

A battling performance from Hearts was not enough for them to avoid a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Rangers, tonight.

Though Kyle Lafferty scored the only goal of the game at Ibrox after four minutes, both teams failed to create anymore than a handful of clear-cut chances as they both searched for the back of net.

The Jambos were scheduled to make three changes to the side that defeated St Johnstone 1-0 at Tynecastle last Saturday, however an injury in the warm-up to David Obua meant that the gaffer was forced to change his plans once more.

Lining up in a 3-5-2 formation, Adrian Mrowiec, Eggert Jonsson and Stephen Elliott came into the team with Gary Glen dropping to the bench and Lee Wallace missing out altogether through injury.

Although Hearts pressed well in the opening stages, it was the home side who took the lead on four minutes, when a cross from the right was knocked in first time by Kyle Lafferty.

Hearts had their first shot on goal after 16 minutes when Rudi Skacel hit a long-range effort that lacked power, and ultimately did not trouble the Rangers goalkeeper Alan McGregor.

Just before the half hour mark the Jam Tarts had their best chance of the half. A Thomson free kick was whipped in and met at the edge of the box by the head of Marius Zaliukas, though McGregor was on hand to tip the captain's powerful header over the bar.

Almost immediately after Hearts had another chance, as Thomson put in a dangerous cross that flew right across the six yard line and past the Rangers defence, though Ruben Palazuelos was unable to connect with the ball first time.

With a couple of minutes of the half remaining, Jonsson conceded a free kick at the edge of the box and was booked for his troubles. The resulting ball in found itself narrowly passing over Marian Kello's bar.

JJ sent the team back out after half time with one change, Ryan Stevenson coming on in a straight swap for Ian Black.

Five minutes into the second half and Kello pulled off a great stop from six yards after Madjid Bougherra played a smart one-two with Steven Davis. The Algerian was clean through on goal but the Hearts number one denied him with an angled block.

Rangers began to press forward more, keeping possession well and searching for a second goal. However they were guilty of wasting chances, and the home support started to become vocal in their concerns.

Hearts almost killed the game off themselves in the 67th minute when Zaliukas' short pass-back was intercepted by El Hadji Diouf, though the Senegal striker's dithering cost him a shot at goal.

Gary Glen and Andrew Driver were both introduced to the field of play in the final twenty minutes, replacing Suso and Rudi Skacel as the Jambos looked to grab an equaliser.

With a minute of normal time remaining Rangers thought they had wrapped up the game. Kello pulled off a spectacular close-range save from Diouf and Davis was on hand to tap in the rebound, though his effort was ruled out by the linesman for offside.

However the home side had done enough to secure all three points, whilst Hearts will feel frustrated that for all their hard work they could not break down the Rangers defence.

Rangers: McGregor, Weir, Papac, McCulloch (Diouf 16), Edu, Davis, Lafferty, Whittaker, Weiss (Naismith 70), Bougherra, Ness. Subs not used: Alexander, Fleck, Foster, Healy, Bartley.

Hearts: Kello; Bouzid, Zaliukas, Mrowiec; C.Thomson, Jonsson, Palazuelos, Black (Stevenson 45), Skacel (Glen 79); Elliott, Suso (Driver 70). Subs not used: MacDonald, J.Thomson, McGowan, Templeton.

Referee: Brian Winter

Top man: Craig Thomson

Hearts World

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