Rangers booked their place in the League Cup final next month with a 3-1 win against Hearts.
Having needed two last minute goals to down the Edinburgh side at Ibrox last week in the league, Philippe Clement’s side were near dominant from start to finish, and had it not been for a few smart stops by Zander Clark and some lacklustre finishing at other points, Rangers would be ahead at the break.
But it only took a matter of minutes in the second half for the opener to come via a familiar source. Danilo did well to react to a slack back pass to nip in ahead of Clark who brought him down. For the third time in seven days, up would step the skipper James Tavernier, who left the keeper static as he slotted home into the bottom right corner.
The goal would really fire Rangers into gear, as substitute Scott Wright – who was excellent after replacing Todd Cantwell at half time – would fire home his first goal since these two sides last met at Hampden.
By 65 minutes, it was three as Tavernier would get his second, firing home a superb freekick into the top corner from the edge of the box after Wright was fouled.
Hearts would get a late consolation as a VAR check overturned a second yellow card for Stephen Kingsley for diving resulting in a penalty which Lawrence Shankland converted but in truth, it flattered Steven Naismith’s side as they struggled to lay a glove on Rangers for the majority of the match.
With a place in December’s final secured against Aberdeen, here are the player ratings for Rangers vs Hearts.
Jack Butland – 7
Little to do for most of the game but had to make two smart stops in the second half, with one at 1-0 proving vital. No chance with penalty.
James Tavernier – 9
A terrific display from the skipper who looks to be rediscovering his best form. Linked up well with both Cantwell and Wright all game and took both his goals expertly.
Connor Goldson – 7
Solid throughout as he effectively nullified the minimal threat Hearts would have.
Leon Balogun – 8
Second game in from the cold as he man marked Shankland and didn’t give the striker a moments peace. Played over half an hour on almost one leg in a warrior like display
Borna Barisic – 6
An ineffective game in the most part from the full back as he doesn’t look a best fit for the forward thinking mentality that Clement wants. Still too often checks back when in possession although he did get on the overlap a few times with little end product.
John Lundstram – 8
Thursday night Lunny has started showing up on other days as he produced his third expert display in a week as he drove the team forward throughout. Seems to be playing less between the centre backs and more in the centre of the park which is suiting him to a tee right now.
Ryan Jack – 7
Nothing spectacular from the Scotland international but he did the basics well and kept the game ticking.
Todd Cantwell – 6
Linked up well with Danilo in the first half and had a good effort well saved from Clark. Booking and a lack of full match fitness likely the reason why he was the one replaced at half time although questions remain whether him and Lammers can both play together.
Sam Lammers – 6
Seems to be improving with every game under Clement as he was less sloppy in possession as he had been all season but didn’t do anything major to change the game in attack.
Abdallah Sima – 8
A constant threat all day long as he gave the Hearts right back a torrid afternoon. Growing with confidence all the time and looks easily the pick of the summer outfield signings so far.
Danilo – 8
Had two or three decent chances in the first half that he’d have liked to have done better with but Hearts couldn’t handle his movement and pressing. Did brilliantly to win the penalty and provided a nice assist for Wright.
Scott Wright – 8: Just seems to love playing at Hampden as he scored and ran the Hearts defence riot for 45 minutes. Playing himself right into contention just now.
Cyriel Dessers – 5
Tom Lawrence – 6
Ben Davies – 4
Dujon Sterling – 2