Football News : Heart of Midlothian 1-1 Rangers: Steven Gerrard’s side fail to return to Premiership summit

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Football News
Rangers missed the chance to return to the top of the Scottish Premiership despite coming from behind to earn a draw in a testy game against Hearts at Tynecastle.

Steven Gerrard’s side were deposed from the summit after Celtic’s win over Ross County on Saturday and remain second by virtue of having scored one goal fewer than their Old Firm rivals.

Alfredo Morelos’ effort cancelled out Ryotaro Meshino’s clever early strike for Hearts, who are still searching for a first home league win since March.

The Colombian rammed in from close range just before the break to level after Japanese loanee Meshino lobbed in from the edge of the box six minutes into a frantic contest.

The point edges Hearts ahead of Edinburgh adversaries Hibernian and into 10th place in the Premiership, with both having won just once in their opening nine league matches.

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Hearts live up to Levein’s billing

Rangers arrived full of confidence on the back their best top-flight start since 2010 and having won their last seven meetings with Hearts – including their last three visits to Tynecastle.

But Hearts manager Craig Levein announced defiantly pre-match that, despite the overwhelming statistics against them, it was a “day to take risks”. And a side with a makeshift defence in which Aidy White was handed a rare start began the game with a spirit that belied their recent form.

Heeding Levein’s desire to go “toe-to-toe” with the visitors, Uche Ikpeazu sent a header crashing off the underside of the crossbar within the opening seconds.

The powerful striker, back from injury, was roughing up the Rangers defence and, when captain James Tavernier was woefully short with an attempted back header, Jake Mulraney’s shot was blocked by Allan McGregor and on-loan Manchester City midfielder Meshino was on hand to loft it over the stranded goalkeeper.

Gerrard had urged his side to “embrace the pressure” of taking over at the top of the table, but they looked shaken as Nikola Katic, having returned to the side days after signing a contract extension, constantly complained about Ikpeazu’s challenges and McGregor earned a booking as he raged red-faced at a refereeing decision.

The visitors’ only threat had come from a long-range Steven Davis header by the time they were handed the equaliser by some slack defending.

Graphic

Newspapers this week linked 17-year-old Aaron Hickey with Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers, but he was looking less comfortable having been switched to right-back to make way for White and was culpable on two counts.

Having conceded a needless corner, he was the one detailed to be marking Morelos, but the striker was unmarked as Katic’s header fell invitingly at his feet and he despatched low into the far corner.

By then, Rangers had been gradually imposing themselves on hosts, who were increasingly being pushed deeper towards their own penalty box and that continued after the break.

Yet the Glasgow side, perhaps with a few tired legs after nearly half their team returned from international duty, rarely looked like turning pressure into a winning goal.

Hickey, looking more comfortable at left-back after White went off with a bust nose, rightly survived a penalty shout when Scott Arfield threw himself to the ground and his side secured a deserved point.

Man of the match – Michael Smith

BBC Scotland’s Brian McLauchlin at Tynecastle

After weeks of being criticised for poor performances in front of their home crowd, this was an afternoon when many of the Hearts players can take confidence from their efforts.

Meshino took his goal extremely well and Ikpeazu was a constant menace to the Rangers defence, but it was one of the home rearguard who once again put in a shift to be proud of.

Michael Smith may well be edging towards the latter stages of his career, but wherever the Northern Ireland defender is asked to play, he just gets on with the job without any fuss.

  • Line-ups
  • Match Stats
  • Live Text

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 23Castro Pereira
  • 51Hickey
  • 2Smith
  • 6Berra
  • 3WhiteBooked at 33minsSubstituted for Brandon at 50′ minutes
  • 12WhelanBooked at 23mins
  • 7Bozanic
  • 77MeshinoSubstituted forMacLeanat 72′minutesBooked at 77mins
  • 8ClareBooked at 82mins
  • 11MulraneySubstituted forIrvingat 80′ minutes
  • 19Ikpeazu

Substitutes

  • 13Doyle
  • 18MacLean
  • 25Brandon
  • 28Dikamona
  • 35Keena
  • 40Irving
  • 41Henderson

Rangers

  • 1McGregorBooked at 30mins
  • 2TavernierBooked at 77mins
  • 6Goldson
  • 19KaticBooked at 89mins
  • 31Barisic
  • 18Kamara
  • 10Davis
  • 17Aribo
  • 37ArfieldSubstituted for Stewart at 76′minutes
  • 20MorelosBooked at 79minsSubstituted forDefoeat 81′minutes
  • 11OjoSubstituted forKentat 62′ minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Helander
  • 9Defoe
  • 13Foderingham
  • 14Kent
  • 16Halliday
  • 24Stewart
  • 25Polster
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Attendance:17,573

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home6
Away6
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home2
Away9
Fouls
Home15
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Rangers 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Rangers 1.

James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt saved. Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Jermain Defoe (Rangers).

Jamie Brandon (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Nikola Katic (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Nikola Katic (Rangers).

Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Borna Barisic (Rangers).

Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Borna Barisic (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian).

Booking

Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian).

Borna Barisic (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Jermain Defoe replaces Alfredo Morelos.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Andrew Irving replaces Jake Mulraney because of an injury.

Foul by Jamie Brandon (Heart of Midlothian).

Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

Foul by Jake Mulraney (Heart of Midlothian).

Greg Stewart (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Glenn Whelan (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Booking

Steven MacLean (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

James Tavernier (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Aaron Hickey (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Greg Stewart replaces Scott Arfield.

Attempt blocked. Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Steven MacLean replaces Ryotaro Meshino.

Foul by Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian).

Connor Goldson (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Connor Goldson.

Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).

Nikola Katic (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Ryan Kent (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

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