Rangers rest while Hearts re-integrate – who will be happier after the dress rehearsal in Tynecastle?
But while defenders John Souttar and Craig Halkett reiterated their arguments for a place in Hearts’ Scottish Cup team, it will be jittery to see if the triumvirate of Liam Boyce, Peter Haring and Ellis Simms are all bounced back by various bits and pieces comes the last home game of the team of the season.
It was a match that meant very little as an encounter in its own right. Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst has bigger concerns as he heads to Seville to face Eintracht Frankfurt. He wrapped the men he hopes will give the club a glorious night in cotton and sent a number of young players onto the stage in Edinburgh and they delivered, showed resilience and had the best possible reaction to the opener’s loss .
Haring scored that goal for the home side in the 24th minute. Simms had generated the opening, using pace, power and a direct run to fend off James Sands and play the Austrian, and he skeled an evasive shot past former Hearts keeper Jon McLaughlin.
However, at halftime in an open game, Rangers were back in the lead.
Cedric Itten equalized in the 32nd minute. He had been prevented by Hearts keeper Craog Gordon a minute earlier but Scotland’s No 1 could do nothing when the resulting corner kick came and the Swiss climbed up to put a powerful header into the net.
Hearts had been unsettled by the loss of Boyce and then tapped on Simms and Haring, both of whom played on through the middle of the second third, while the Rangers youngsters, steered through that early stage by Scott Arfield and Aaron Ramsey, started their groove to find.
And when they drove up the tunnel at the break, they had taken the lead.
It looked a little too easy from Hearts’ point of view, but the 18-year-old doesn’t care. He made full use of the space given to him on that left flank, sliding through defenses before coolly sending his efforts through bodies and past Gordon.
With the reinstallation of their regular team next week, the Hearts hope to make life harder for their rivals.
There were chances at both ends but after both sides reshuffled their packs and the visitors bet on teenager Cole McKinnon for his debut, the young Scot celebrated the opportunity by scoring the team’s third and final goal. And it was a finish that belied his inexperience, capturing the ball in the area and showing the composure to hit on the turn.
It gave the traveling support a chance to cheer on their rivals in hopes of gaining a psychological advantage ahead of next weekend. But nobody in Gorgie panicked.
As Hearts fans salute their supporters after a positive league campaign, they know more success is to come and that Rangers aren’t the only ones looking for a silver lining to their season.
https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/rangers/rangers-rest-as-hearts-reintegrate-who-will-be-the-happier-after-tynecastle-dress-rehearsal-3694311 Rangers rest while Hearts re-integrate – who will be happier after the dress rehearsal in Tynecastle?