Rangers end Scottish Cup drought with 2-0 win over Hearts at Hampden
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Rangers end Scottish Cup drought with 2-0 win over Hearts at Hampden

Rangers have won the Scottish Cup for the first time since 2009 with a 2-0 win over Hearts after extra-time at Hampden.

After an energy-sapping 120 minutes in Seville in midweek, the Light Blues showed no signs of any Europa League hangover as Ryan Jack and Scott Wright sealed the win.

Unsurprisingly, Rangers made five changes from midweek as he made use of his squad for the Hampden final, Jon McLaughlin, Leon Balogun, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and Amad Diallo coming into the side.

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The early minutes of the game was punctuated by a string of free-kicks with Peter Haring earning himself a yellow card with three minutes played for a dangerous challenge on Calvin Bassey.

Once the game finally settled down, the best of the early chances fell to Hearts, Simms hitting the post from a yard out after the Rangers defence was caught sleeping.

Balogun failed to win his header, allowing Boyce in behind and his cross went across goal to the outstretched Simms who could only watch as the ball hit the outside of the post.

It was a huge let-off for Rangers and the Light Blues responded by flooding forward and putting the Jambos’ defence under some real pressure without testing Craig Gordon.

The Gers felt they should have had a penalty when Bassey surged forward from deep before going down under Haring’s challenge inside the area but Willie Collum saw nothing in it.

Rangers’ pressure continued to cause problems for Hearts with Amad getting in behind but failing to find anyone with his cross before Arfield saw a strike blocked by a defender.

Van Bronckhorst will have been happy with how his players had responded to Hearts’ early pressure; forcing the capital side deeper and deeper as they tried for the opener.

However, the lack of a striker was causing some problems for Rangers with moves breaking down in and around the box and nobody having that ability to play on the last defender and make their afternoon miserable.

As the first half entered the final ten minutes, both keepers had been pretty quiet but it had been an entertaining game despite the lack of shots on goal.

Rangers were getting closer and closer to breaking the deadlock, Aribo watching as a header flashed across goal and went agonisingly wide.

A game involving Willie Collum couldn’t pass by without the referee getting something woefully wrong and it came five minutes before the break.

Alex Cochrane ran into the back of James Tavernier and somehow the Rangers skipper was the one penalised despite having not done anything close to committing a foul.

Rangers’ last real chance of the opening half came through Amad when the Ivorian headed over from Bassey’s whipped cross but the Man United loanee got his header all wrong.

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Half-time: Rangers 0-0 Hearts

Despite some pressure from Hearts, Rangers had been the better of the two in the opening 45 but Gio van Bronckhorst will have been very much aware of where his side could do better after spurning some really good chances.

Rangers made a lively start to the second 45, winning a couple of corners in the opening minutes and putting Hearts on the back foot.

Calvin Bassey was playing like a man possessed, doing pirouettes and step-overs to get by Hearts defenders as he rampaged up and down the left flank.

Hearts needed a massive save from Craig Gordon to keep the scores level when Kent charged down at him 12 minutes after the restart.

Amad Diallo would become the first Rangers player in the book shortly afterwards, sliding in on Liam Boyce late before coming close to a second after a furious rant at Collum over a challenge he was on the receiving end of.

His afternoon would come to an end moments later when he was replaced by Scott Wright, likely saving the loanee from getting himself into further trouble with a referee who isn’t shy about making himself the centre of attention.

The game continued to devolve into the Willie Collum show as the official made a series of baffling decisions and lost the run of himself a bit as the minutes ticked by.

Rangers again started to enjoy some prolonged control – Bassey still the centre of it all – and he came close to opening the scoring when he forced a smart save from Gordon after carrying the ball out of defence.

Aribo was next to have an effort at goal, heading over from Tavernier’s corner, the skipper having done brilliantly to win the corner with 13 minutes to go.

Willie Collum again made more incredible decisions, letting as clear a yellow card as you’ll see go for a foul on Bassey and, somehow, allowing play to continue.

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With ten minutes to go, there was a double change for Rangers; Steven Davis and Scott Arfield being replaced by Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack.

Rangers were still making most of the attacking play, Leon Balogun’s header whistling over the bar from another Tavernier corner with Hearts struggling to get forward.

However, despite the chances continuing to come, the game looked destined for extra-time when Gordon pulled off an outrageous save to deny Aribo in the first seconds of three minutes of injury time.

Replays showed the Gers should have probably had a penalty in the build-up with one of the Hearts defenders taking a big handful of Aribo’s shirt.

Scott Wright almost made himself the hero with 30 seconds left, heading a Tavernier corner off the bar with Gordon looking beaten.

End of 90 minutes: Rangers 0-0 Hearts

Rangers again started off in control of the game and Aribo had a horrific miss from a header when he got it all wrong from Bassey’s cross and headed high over the bar.

Shortly afterwards, Rangers were finally in the lead, Ryan Jack the man to break the deadlock and make it 1-0 three minutes into extra-time.

The Scotland midfielder rocketed an effort home off the crossbar from outside the area to leave Gordon almost in tears and send Rangers on their way to the trophy.

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If Rangers had one hand on the trophy after Jack’s goal, they had both on it when Scott Wright doubled the lead just minutes after Jack had opened the scoring.

Wright’s performance since coming on deserved his goal and the wide man showed excellent composure to beat Gordon and send the Rangers end at Hampden into dreamland.

With fifteen minutes left, Fashion Sakala came on for Joe Aribo after a tireless shift from the Nigerian – although he’ll be counting his blessings Jack and Wright scored after his horror miss earlier.

Hearts were out on their feet and it was only a case of whether Rangers could add a third or not before the final whistle; Sakala’s energy and pace causing further problems for the tired Jambos’ defence.

In the clearest indication of what is to come this summer, Allan McGregor came on in the final moments for an emotional goodbye as he heads into retirement.

Rangers: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Bassey, Lundstram, Davis, Arfield, Diallo, Kent, Aribo. 
Subs: McGregor, King, Jack, Ramsey, Kamara, Sands, Lowry, Itten, Wright, Roofe, Sakala

Hearts: Gordon, Kingsley, Souttar, Atkinson, Halkett, Haring, Devlin, Cochrane, McKay, Simms, Boyce.
Subs: Stewart, Smith, McEneff, Woodburn, Mackay-Steven, Moore, Halliday, Sibbick, Ginnelly.

In other news, Ex-Rangers boss eyes reunion with polarising former Ibrox star

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