Rangers
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Rangers 5-0 Hearts: Morelos fires Gers to thumping Ibrox win

Rangers have responded in style to the midweek Old Firm thrashing as an Alfredo Morelos masterclass helped the Light Blues to a resounding 5-0 win at Ibrox.

There were four changes from the midweek Old Firm shambles, Leon Balogun, John Lundstram, Ryan Jack and Morelos coming into the side and Borna Barisic, Glen Kamara, Amad and Kemar Roofe all dropping to the bench.

Soon-to-be Rangers defender John Souttar was left out of the Hearts squad, the Scotland international continuing his recovery from a knock.

It took Rangers all of 20 seconds to win a corner as the Light Blues looked to immediately get on the front foot as Alfredo Morelos quickly caused problems for Hearts.

Joe Aribo and Balogun would both get chances at goal but neither could make them count in the opening exchanges.

With five minutes gone, Morelos came within inches of getting the opener but the Colombian couldn’t get on the back of an enticing cross from Ryan Kent that had left the Hearts defence flat-footed.

The slackness from midweek wasn’t totally out of the Gers’ system though – Connor Goldson almost gifting Hearts a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring before recovering well to clear his lines.

Morelos’ impressive start got the rewards it deserved after eleven minutes when El Bufalo popped up at the back post and fired home from close range.

It was the perfect end to an excellent move that had started with Ryan Jack spreading the play wide to Bassey, who released Kent down the left before Kent picked the Rangers number 20 out to slide home and lift the tension lingering over Ibrox.

https://twitter.com/ScotlandSky/status/1490359270302490629

Rangers looked to have the bit between their teeth as they hurried and hassled Hearts when they had possession while moving the ball quickly and with purpose when in control of the ball.

Joe Aribo was next to go close for Rangers when the Nigerian international burst through the Hearts defence before firing low across goal but his effort went wide of Gordon’s back post.

Rangers should have been 2-0 up after 25 minutes, Morelos doing brilliantly to feed Kent but the wideman somehow managed to drag his effort wide when he should have been scoring.

While Kent’s finish was nowhere near good enough, the build-up play from Rangers to create the chance was fantastic as they continued to go up through the gears.

As the first half reached the 30-minute mark, van Bronckhorst’s side were very much in control but there was still a real need to get a second and put some distance between the sides.

Morelos had been central to everything good Rangers had done and the Colombian was showing just why he was so missed in the Gers previous two games.

The home support were incensed when Willie Collum didn’t point to the penalty spot when Nathan Atkinson grabbed a big handful of Ryan Kent’s shirt as he drove into the area – although there was little in the way of an appeal from the players.

Some lovely interplay between Morelos and James Tavernier almost brought Rangers the second goal in the 39th-minute but for a strong stop from Craig Gordon to send Morelos’ strike out for a corner.

There were no changes at the break for Rangers as they looked to pick up where they’d left off, however, it was a sluggish start from the Gers with Atkinson going close within seconds of the restart.

The visitors came close to scoring again just moments later, Devlin sending an effort inches wide of McGregor’s post as the Rangers defence went to sleep.

Willie Collum started losing control of the game, booking Leon Balogun in the worst of a string of ridiculous decisions after the restart.

Whether by design or not, Hearts had succeeded in getting Rangers into a more physical battle with challenges flying all over the pitch and some mistakes creeping into the Gers’ players’ games.

As the game descended into a scrappy affair, a genuine bit of class for Morelos doubled Rangers’ advantage.

After his initial pass was deflected back into his path, Morelos changed course before curling a delightful finish into the far corner and well out of the reach of the diving Gordon.

Morelos almost grabbed his hat-trick on 68 minutes, bullying the Hearts defence before forcing a great save out of Gordon.

Van Bronckhorst turned to his bench for the first time in the aftermath of Morelos’ effort, Glen Kamara replacing Ryan Jack for the final 20 minutes or so.

It took the Finn just a few minutes to show what he thought about being benched, picking the ball up in midfield and driving forward then sitting a Hearts defender down and cooly finishing to make it 3-0 and finish the game off.

Having scored two, Morelos played a key role in the third as El Bufalo combined to great effect with Kamara and cutting the Jambos defence open.

As Ibrox rose to welcome Aaron Ramsey on for his debut, Scott Arfield made it 4-0 on his 100th appearance, with Ramsey coming on for Arfield in a double change with Fashion Sakala also replacing Joe Aribo.

In the closing minutes, Sakala would join in the fun, getting on the end of Kent’s cross and side-footing into the bottom corner.

The performance was a drastic improvement from the midweek horror show at Celtic Park and set the benchmark for what fans can expect over the coming months.

With 13 games to go between now and the end of the season, there is plenty more to come in the title race.

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Bassey, Lundstram, Jack, Aribo, Kent, Arfield, Morelos.
Subs: McLaughlin, Barisic, Davis, Ramsey, Kamara, Sands, Amad, Roofe, Fashion Jr.

Whilst fans might be licking their wounds after defeat to Celtic, the Ibrox squad can look to the team of 2011 for inspiration when it comes to the rest of the campaign.

LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment