Rangers clear with triumph at Hearts
Rangers cemented their position on top of the Scottish Premier League with a 2-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.
Ally McCoist's side moved nine points clear of second placed Motherwell thanks to Steven Naismith's first half opener and a second half strike from Nikica Jelavic.
It was the ideal way for Rangers to bounce back after the champions conceded a late equaliser in their surprise 1-1 home draw against St Mirren last weekend. The Glasgow club, who are unbeaten after 12 league games, have made their best start for nine years and still have a 100 per cent record away from Ibrox this season.
Rangers created the best of the chances during a frantic opening spell and Lee McCulloch was first to threaten as he flashed just past a post. Maurice Edu saw his effort deflected wide for a corner and the Rangers midfielder connected well with a Steven Davis ball into the box only to hook over on this occasion.
Naismith rewarded Rangers for their bright start when he met Steven Whittaker's pass and drilled home in the 21st minute. Rangers continued to push forward in search of a second goal and a Davis corner broke for Edu on the edge of the box but he lashed over.
There was a rare moment of concern for Rangers when a Carlos Bocanegra clearance trickled just past the post and narrowly avoided being an own-goal.
Hearts finally showed signs of life after that and Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor produced a superb save to deny Rudi Skacel just before the break. Eggert Jonsson tested McGregor with a shot at the near post that the goalkeeper spilled but the offside flag was raised by the time Ryan Stevenson pounced on the rebound.
Hearts had another chance to haul themselves level, but Skacel drilled wide when he should at least have hit the target. But Jelavic sealed the win in the 74th minute when he met a Bocanegra ball and side-footed past Marian Kello from six yards.
Hearts should have pulled a goal back almost immediately, but McGregor did well to block two point-blank strikes from Stevenson.