Tue. May 28th, 2024

Danilo scored a stoppage-time header as Rangers came from behind to beat Hearts and close the gap on Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic to five points.

Hearts were on course to record a famous victory at Ibrox through Lawrence Shankland’s early header (5) and it looked set to be their day when Rangers captain James Tavernier missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Rangers struggled to find a way past a resilient Hearts defence for long periods but were given a lifeline when Peter Haring fouled Connor Goldson in the box and gave Tavernier the chance to make amends from the spot, which he did in style (90).

The equaliser spurred the hosts on and they found a winner when Danilo, a second-half substitute, powered home a header at the back post following Tavernier’s pinpoint cross (90+3).

Philippe Clement extends his beaten run as Rangers manager to three games in all competitions as his side moved closer to Celtic following their goalless draw at Hibernian on Saturday. Hearts drop to seventh after their fifth defeat of the campaign.

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James Tavernier scored a 90th-minute penalty to equalise for Rangers at Ibrox

How Rangers turned the game around

Clement had resisted the opportunity to make radical changes following the gruelling goalless Europa League draw against Sparta Prague on Thursday night. Ridvan Yilmaz, ineligible for the game in Prague, was reinstated at left-back as Rangers returned to a back four, with John Souttar dropping out.

Hearts boss Steven Naismith brought in defender Odeluga Offiah and midfielders Beni Baningime and Jorge Grant with Cameron Devlin and Alan Forrest dropping to the bench, while on-loan midfielder Alex Lowry could not play against his parent club, who were shocked by the loss of an early goal.

Wing-back Alex Cochrane took possession on the left and swung a right-footed cross into the Gers box and over the head of Yilmaz for Shankland to almost casually head past goalkeeper Jack Butland.

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Lawrence Shankland’s fine header gave Hearts an early lead

It was the first goal conceded under Clement and the home fans were not happy with the deficit or the reaction from Rangers. In the 27th minute, following a corner from Tavernier which was met by Goldson, Shankland cleared Cyriel Dessers’ effort from close range off the line.

However, moments later, the anger from the Ibrox stands when Hearts attacker Kenneth Vargas drove over the bar after taking a Shankland pass was unmistakable.

Attacker Abdallah Sima headed a Yilmaz free-kick wide of the target in the 34th minute before Hearts’ Stephen Kingsley replaced injured Odel Offiah.

Rangers were handed a lifeline right before the break when referee John Beaton pointed to the spot when Jambos defender Toby Sibbick tripped Todd Cantwell inside the box. Tavernier sent Tynecastle keeper Zander Clark the wrong way with his spot-kick but the ball rebounded off the post and Hearts kept their goal intact.

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Rangers captain Tavernier earlier missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time

There were pointed cheers when Brazilian striker Danilo replaced Dessers for the start of the second half and initially the home side looked in a hurry.

Midfielder Sam Lammers flicked a Yilmaz cut-back over the bar in the 55th minute before Nicolas Raskin hit the side netting with a drive which left him injured and requiring a stretcher before he was replaced by attacker Scott Wright.

Hearts remained resolute under constant pressure. A 20-yard drive from Rangers midfielder John Lundstram escaped the far post, as did an effort from Tavernier but when Beaton was sent to check his pitchside monitor by VAR, he judged substitute Haring to have tugged Goldson’s shirt at a corner.

Tavernier drove in the penalty to level but there was more drama to come in the third of nine added minutes when Danilo rose at the back post to head in a Tavernier cross – suddenly all was well inside Ibrox.

What’s next?

Rangers‘ next Scottish Premiership match is away to Dundee on Wednesday night while Hearts host Livingston. Both games start at 7.45pm.

Rangers and Hearts then meet again next Sunday in the Viaplay Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park, with kick-off at 3pm.

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The post Rangers 2-1 Hearts: Danilo scores stoppage-time header as hosts come from behind to close gap on Celtic appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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