Rangers struggled in a frustrating 0-0 draw with Hearts at Ibrox yesterday. Whilst there was no doubt Hearts played for exactly that result, Rangers were never really able to sustain pressure well enough to break through. The work was put in by the team, with plenty of running, but the quality was lacking.

Hearts lined up with a number of attacking players, but played a 4-5-1 designed to be difficult to break down. The only change from the Hibs game for Rangers was the return of Lee Wallace, replacing Hodson at left back.

In the games so far this season, Rangers have started with a high tempo, and scored very early. Yesterday, that never transpired, and it allowed Hearts to get into a rhythm and shape. Depsite the pattern of the game being loads of possession for Rangers, Hearts came closest to scoring first. A long range effort from Souttar hit the bar and bounced out, seemingly from nowhere. From the rebound, Lafferty tried to curl one in to the far post which went wide. Foderingham screamed at his teammates for more urgency in defence.

Good chances were at a premium throughout the game. The best ones for Rangers came in the first half. Some good link up play between Morelos and Tavernier sent the right back clear, and his cut-back was cleared with Miller waiting to tap in. Morelos also came close to creating a chance for Miller with a drilled cross, also cleared at the last second. Some good crosses from Wallace and Candeias were unable to find a player, though.

The best chance Rangers had in the game fell to Kenny Miller. He fought to win a ball in from the left, and on the stretch he got a shot away which Hamilton saved well with his feet.

Josh Windass had taken a sore one from a foul during the half, and it seemed to slow him down. A through ball that looked to have sent him through was slowed down by his turn, and the resulting tackle left him on the ground again. He took some time to get up, but tried to see out the half.

Alves had a header cleared off the line from a corner, and that was the best chances we had. The fact we had a lot of the ball wasn’t laudable, as Hearts were letting us do that. Any through balls or attempts to turn the Hearts defence were being dealt with easily. A more patient approach would often break down when our forward players had their back to goal. When your centre halves see so much of the ball, it’s usually a sign that things aren’t being done quickly enough.

The second half started a little quicker, with some corners won early, but soon went back to the same pattern as the first half. The knocks Windass had taken meant he had to come off on 50 minutes, and Kranjcar replaced him. This meant Miller moved wide left, and we hoped that Niko would find the pass which would open the game up. Unfortunately, crosses and shots were being blocked and passes made too slow. Ryan Hardie replaced Dorrans after 72 minutes had passed, to try and offer another attacking option. He had a great chance on 80 minutes after a fantastic ball from Foderingham found Candeias on the run. It was the first time he had space to run in, and he found Hardie at the back post with a cross. Hardie took a touch and tried to hit the target, but his shot was blocked for a corner.

Despite a couple of scrappy clearances and half chances, Rangers were unable to forge another good opportunity, and the game fizzled out to the draw. Far too many games last season went along these lines, and Rangers fans need to hope that this isn’t a sign of how most games will go.


RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier, Cardoso, Alves, Wallace; Candeias, Dorrans, Jack, Windass (Kranjcar, 52); Miller (Hardie 72), Morelos.

SUBS NOT USED: Alnwick, Wilson, Hodson, Rossiter, Pena,.

HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN: Hamilton, Smith, Souttar, Berra, Walker (Nowak, 63), Lafferty, Djoum, Cowie, Randall (Buaben, 62), Brandon (Grzelak, 76), Goncalves.

SUBS: Hughes, Stockton, Zanatta, Noring.