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Brave Blues given songs of praise for producing Sunday best


Muff
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THE numbers may have diminished from last season's double-winning squad, and there will no doubt be much biting of nails and glances at the clock as the transfer window edges into its final week.

But, as this summer of speculation over more possible exits and on-going financial worries continue, Rangers displayed one massive trait at Tynecastle that has not abandoned them - a fierce will to win.

It was that spirit, that mark of champions, which allowed them to leave the capital with three big points after yet another highly-charged showdown with Hearts.

Sure, there was much for those of a Rangers persuasion to be concerned about in the aftermath of the 2-1 win.

The poor attempt keeper Allan McGregor made to save the shot from David Witteveen which gave Csaba Laszlo's men the lead in the first half was one.

The entire Gers defence, too, was at fault for allowing Witteveen to get in a position to take a shot on goal in the first place, although TV pictures showed the striker should have been flagged for offside in the build-up to the goal.

And, yes, Kevin Thomson's ordering off in his first start in nine months for a rash tackle on Ian Black after little more than 10 minutes, changed the complexion of the match and was a challenge the midfielder should have stayed away from.

Nevertheless, Walter Smith's side left with the spoils. And, to have emerged with victory from this bear-pit type arena having played with 10 men for over 80 minutes, says a lot about the spirit in the champions' camp.

It may have taken a highly-controversial last-minute decision from referee Craig Thomson, one of several he made in this live TV encounter, to ensure they grabbed the win courtesy of Kris Boyd's penalty, but Rangers played like THEY had the numerical advantage in the final stages and deserved what they got for driving on until the whistle.

Smith said: "In the second half we played better, we imposed ourselves on the game. It's always a tough place to come, Tynecastle. Sometimes when you've got 10 men you can play between the opposition a bit better, strangely enough. But at the time we took the lead I felt we deserved it for what we had put in to the game in the second half.

"We had to battle for 80-odd minutes with 10 men, and we did so after a first half where we didn't start well."

As the players traipsed off the pitch at the end of an enthralling meeting, the rejoicing visiting supporters chanted as one: "That's why we're champions!" They were spot-on.

It is not the games which Rangers will win at a canter at home which will see them retain their title - it is matches like these. The points they pick up on the road, especially when the chips are down and the odds are stacked heavily against them, will prove crucial.

That good teams win when they are playing badly is an old cliche. Still, it remains true and that is exactly what the Glasgow club did yesterday. The grit and determination they displayed in Gorgie will serve them well in the months ahead and they are sure to smooth the rough edges off their play.

McGregor certainly showed great mental strength to shrug aside his blunder and produce a magnificent goal-saving touch from a Jose Goncalves shot early in the second half.

That sublime touch allowed Rangers to draw level when Lee McCulloch rose well and glanced a curling Stevie Smith free-kick into the opposition net.

The foul by David Obua on Kenny Miller which led to that strike was every bit as bad, if not worse, than Thomson's on Black and just resulted in a caution.

The Rangers midfielder should probably only have received a yellow card from Thomson, Scotland's leading official, but cannot feel too hard done by after committing such a foolish act.

His manager felt it was harsh, saying: "I thought it looked far worse than it actually was - but it was an opportunity to send him off.

"I don't think there was any great contact made and obviously if there had been, the player would never have been able to continue in the manner he did do for the rest of the game."

Like Kevin Thomson, Ismael Bouzid must also be wondering what he was thinking about today after challenging Steven Naismith so clumsily on the edge of his own penalty box in the final minute.

The Hearts support were incensed by the decision, but television replays again showed it was on the line and referee Thomson had called it correctly.

Boyd, who had been on the park for seconds after being left on the bench following a bout of illness in midweek, stepped up to take the spot-kick.

He made no mistake and buried it powerfully underneath Janos Balogh to open his account for the season in some style.

The man who finished last season as Scotland's top scorer was ecstatic to net his first goal at Tynecastle in seven years in such dramatic circumstances.

Having failed to hit the target in pre-season or against Falkirk last week, Boyd is sure to be lifted enormously by his contribution.

It is also to be hoped that Hearts will take decisive action against those who showered the celebrating players with missiles afterwards.

But, if they continue to show such impressive resolve and sharpen up defensively, the Rangers players can expect to keep on being showered with praise by their followers.

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/sport/displa...2527136.0.0.php

A very good report from Matthew Lindsay!

It was that spirit, that mark of champions, which allowed them to leave the capital with three big points
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As the players traipsed off the pitch at the end of an enthralling meeting, the rejoicing visiting supporters chanted as one: "That's why we're champions!" They were spot-on.

That was so sweet......

That was brilliant, and my choice of text to numerous people even before Boyd rattled home the winner :clap:

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As the players traipsed off the pitch at the end of an enthralling meeting, the rejoicing visiting supporters chanted as one: "That's why we're champions!" They were spot-on.

That was so sweet......

That was brilliant, and my choice of text to numerous people even before Boyd rattled home the winner :clap:

Also :pipe:

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"It is not the games which Rangers will win at a canter at home which will see them retain their title - it is matches like these. The points they pick up on the road, especially when the chips are down and the odds are stacked heavily against them, will prove crucial."

This quote caught my eye in what is an excellent article - so positive! (Even mentions Shaggers mistake AND his superb save)!

"Thats why we are champions" - Indeed!

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