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Rangers brush aside title rivals Hearts

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Dec 12, 2021

Glasgow (AFP) – Alfredo Morelos and Joe Aribo fired Rangers to a 2-0 win at Hearts on Sunday as the Scottish Premiership leaders extended their strong start under new boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Van Bronckhorst has won four successive league games since replacing Steven Gerrard after his predecessor’s move to Aston Villa.

Morelos and Aribo scored in the early stages at Tynecastle, giving Rangers six consecutive league victories encompassing the end of Gerrard’s reign.

Hearts had Josh Ginnelly sent off late on as they squandered a chance to close the gap on the champions.

Rangers are 12 points clear of third placed Hearts and seven ahead of second placed Celtic, who host Motherwell later on Sunday.

Van Bronckhorst made six changes to the Rangers side that began Thursday’s 1-1 draw at Lyon in the Europa League.

Liam Boyce had a great chance to open the scoring for Hearts in the third minute when he ran on to John Souttar’s clipped ball over the top, but the Northern Ireland striker saw his lob tipped over by Allan McGregor.

It was Rangers who scored with their first chance of the match after nine minutes when Ryan Kent’s cross reached Fashion Sakala and the Zambian cut the ball back to Morelos, who fired home from six yards out.

Sakala shot just wide from close range moments later before Morelos headed wide from James Tavernier’s corner.

Rangers’ second goal came in the 13th minute when Aribo ran on to a brilliant long diagonal from Connor Goldson and fired an angled low shot beyond the exposed Craig Gordon.

Gary Mackay-Steven saw his angled shot pushed behind by McGregor early in the second half.

Rangers had a let-off in the 53rd minute when Calvin Bassey knocked a Ginnelly cross off the underside of his own crossbar.

Rangers remained a threat, however, and Scott Arfield and Sakala were both denied by saves from Gordon.

Boyce fired over from close range after being set up by Mackay-Steven before Stephen Kingsley cracked a free kick off the bar from 30 yards out.

In the 80th minute, Ginnelly was sent off after being shown a second yellow card for squaring up to Borna Barisic.

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