Hearts blunder leads to early Rangers goal that snowballs as the club seemed to be too rattled to come together and mount a resistance.
Title all but sums up what went down this rainy Sunday, and had McGregor found traction on the wet field to stop an errant header in the second half this game I would have titled this an absolute cardiac flatline in terms of Heart gameplay.
I’m not sure what happened in the first two minutes but a flat-footed Hearts defense left Czech goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal alone to suffer an attack that ended with Morelos opting to pass to Kent who sank Rangers first goal of the match.
It wasn’t long until karma would come around and Morelos found synergy with Candeias to receive a pass and slip a cheeky shot past tired Zlamal for a boost to Rangers’ lead. Keeping the trend going, Morelos set up Arfield to secure the third and final goal of the game for Rangers.
There were Heart attacks on Ranger territory, but as usual Allan McGregor’s experience was on display as he read the incoming red jerseys and deflected or caught shots taken at him.
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Watching the replay, I honestly think if the rain hadn’t contributed to a wet surface under his cleats he would have made the dive to stop the header that got Heart on the board, but it just looked like he was just as surprised that his feet came out from under him.
McGregor was otherwise well defended throughout as Rangers collapsed on the box whenever Heart would make it across the midfield but more often than not they would quickly clear the threat and charge into Heart territory.
Rangers, as a whole, were playing circles around Heart today which was evident from the fight for midfield but also translated as solid passing to keep the defenders running and fancy footwork to lose them when they chased.
One major presence on the offense throughout the game was Kent who was like a fox in a Heart’s chicken coup – just an absolute menace they couldn’t rid themselves of – to the point that it became evident Heart was kicking the ball out in favor of Kent gaining momentum with it down the sides.
But still, I think the key to today’s victory didn’t lay with any specific individual taking charge of the ball or any one player stopping the opposition in their tracks, instead Rangers were passing to better positioned teammates rather than take a riskier shot to pad stats or go after personal achievements and it paid dividends – they were playing as a team.
Heart honestly had every opportunity to come back from this, they really did, but it was like the goal in the first two minutes that they wholly let happen (this can’t be stressed enough for those that didn’t see it) rattled them so hard they couldn’t find a beat to march to moving forward. That disharmony and inability to bounce back contributed to their undefeated streak being broken more than Rangers doing anything besides playing some solid football.