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Rm Match Report


Bazza
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Hearts 1 vs. 4 Rangers

After watching our treble chances diminish on Wednesday night, we really needed a strong performance from the Bears today and Walter wasn't messing about as he reverted back to his senior players for an important three points in consolidating the title.

Davis had recovered from his flu bug and the return of McCulloch and Thomson solidified the midfield. Add to that the best striking partnership in the SPL and we were ready for action.

Rangers started strongly with Naismith driving forward from the left and Davis pulling the midfield strings and it was no surprise when, early on, a Thomson free kick was met at the back post by Danny Wilson who headed in his first goal. The weakest link in the team in the first half was a surprising one as Papac really didn't look on his game at all and was being caused all sorts of problems so it was no surprise when his sliced clearance fell to his nemesis, Sousa, who fired home from a tight angle.

Rangers were still looking the stronger though and when Davis latched onto a loose pass, he picked out a lovely ball to Boyd who headed it down for Naismith who had driven again into the box. His touch was sublime and his shot was ferocious but it only managed to hammer the bar, the ball fell back to Miller though and he wasn't missing. The two one score line was about right for a good first forty five minutes.

The game was effectively done and dusted within minutes of the re start as Rangers played some nice football on the right with Whittaker dribbling infield and feeding Naismith who took his chance well as the ball went neatly over the keeper.

Hearts also seemed to realise that the game was now beyond them as the second half petered out. Rangers took the opportunity to relieve McCulloch, Davis and Miller but not before the game was truly finished off when Davis took another free kick and floated it into the area where Naismith must have been amazed at the room afforded to him as he headed in number four.

A very good afternoon's work and another step towards a now inevitable second consecutive title.

RM's verdict:

McGregor – 7 A couple of fine saves showed his qualities once more. Very commanding and vocal at the back.

Whittaker – 7 Good defensive display again but still manages to get forward and offer an attacking option. Great run and pass for Naismith's first.

Weir – 6 Still belying his years as he cruises through these games. His second trophy of the season isn't far off now.

Wilson — 7 Looked a lot more composed at the back today and dominated when he needed to. Will be delighted to score his first club goal.

Papac – 6 Struggled big time in the first half but credit where it's due, he came back stronger in the second and Sousa hardly got a touch.

Davis – 7 A big miss when he's not in the team and came back in today and proved it. His guile and craft are complimented by his work ethic which is second to none.

McCulloch – 6 Battled his way through the game in a competitive midfield. Does all the dirty stuff very well.

Thomson – 6 Like McCulloch he fought hard in the middle of the park but offered himself going forward too. Floated in a wonderful cross for the first goal.

Naismith – 9 It's terrific to see the wee man back to his best. Ran his heart out and caused problems all day. Deserved his two goals and his "assist" for Miller's.

Miller – 7 Plenty running and turned the Hearts back line with his pace. Scored an opportunist goal with the ricochet off the bar falling right to him.

Boyd – 6 Is certainly adding to the team performance but does that detract from his scoring attributes? Some decent hold up play and flick ons added to the attacking threat.

Subs:

Edu – 5 On for McCulloch and slotted in seamlessly.

Smith – 4 On to relieve the recovering Davis.

Novo – 4 Got the last ten minutes to add fresh legs.

Rangers: - McGregor, Weir, Papac, Whittaker, Wilson, McCulloch (Edu 63), Davis (Smith 81), Thomson, Boyd, Naismith, Miller (Novo 84).

· Substitutes: - Alexander, Smith, Edu, Beasley, Novo, Fleck, Little

Booked: - McCulloch

Goals: - Wilson 5, Miller 31, Naismith 49, 77

·

Hearts: - MacDonald, Wallace, Obua, Thomson (Thomson 51), Zaliukas, Jonsson, Palazuelos, Suso Santana, Black (Templeton 78), Kingston, Glen (Robinson 70).

  • Substitutes:- Ridgers, Stevenson, Smith, Thomson, Nade, Templeton, Robinson

Booked:- Thomson, Santana

Goals:- Santana 16

Att:- 16,832

Ref:- Murray

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Good report as usual (tu)

McGregor - 6 Had very little to do and no chance with the goal.

Whittaker - 7 Strong defensively and got forward on a number of ocassions to create Naismith's first.

Weir - 7 Strolled through the match with little fuss.

Wilson - 8 Got his first goal and was a rock at the back. MOTM.

Papac - 5 Had a shocker and his lack of concentration and inability to stop crosses coming in were shown.

Davis - 7 Back in the side and made us tick. Great free-kick for Naismith's second.

McCulloch - 6 Ran about and got his yellow card.

Thomson - 7 Kep it simple in the middle and kept things ticking over without being a real driving force.

Naismith - 8 Caused the Hearts back four problems all day and took his goals very well.

Boyd - 6 Did a lot of good work outside the box and deserved a goal.

Miller - 7 Got on the scoresheet and played well.

Edu - 5 Came on to shore things up and looked tidy.

Smith - 4 On to keep things tight and did his job well.

Novo - 3 Late run out.

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