ANDREW VORCE - Monday, May 9, 2011
Maurice Edu and Rangers cruised to a victory at Ibrox Stadium in front of new owner Craig Whyte.
Rangers are eager to deliver head coach Walter Smith his tenth Scottish Premier League title as the Glasgow team also looks to retain it's status as Champions. A midweek loss by Celtic put Rangers in the driver's seat for the crown, and they responded to the challenge by taking one step towards their ultimate goal.
Rangers took the lead in the 23rd minute through Nikica Jelavic after Steven Davis played the striker in the box. Jelavic still had it all to do, finishing from a difficult angle.
A sweeping movement doubled Ranger's advantage in the 39th minute when they switched the field of play from the right to the left. All the players crowded the goalmouth but Gregg Wylde picked out Kyle Lafferty at the top of the 18 for a calm finish.
Wylde was again the provider moments before the break as the ball was played back out wide, allowing the player time and space down the left flank. Picking his head up he noticed Davis in the area who had wrong sided his defender and was able to coolly nod home from inside six yards.
Hearts felt they were hard done by the referee who showed Eggert Jonsson a straight red card in the 62nd minute for a bad challenge. Rangers put the game to bed in the 84th minute when a strong Steven Naismith shot was blocked by keeper Jamie MacDonald, but El-Hadji Diouf's follow up shot was put into the back of the net by Hearts' player Ryan Stevenson.
Edu did pick up a booking in the game, joined in the book by Naismith, David Weir, and Steven Whittaker. Hearts saw Ian Black, David Obua, and Ryan McGowan join Jonsson in the referees book.
Rangers still sit one point above Celtic atop the Premier League and will look to further that lead as they take on Dundee United at home on Tuesday.