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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 15:27 GMT
Rangers too good for Hearts
Mikel Arteta takes the credit for Rangers' goal
Mikel Arteta takes the credit for Rangers' goal
Rangers 1-0 Hearts

Rangers dominated the 90 minutes against Hearts but ought to have won by a far more convincing margin than they finally did.

A Scott Severin own goal was all the home side had to show for their efforts, although Ronald de Boer did have an earlier goal chopped off.

Hearts were presented with an early chance when a long throw-in caused havoc in the Rangers defence, but neither Mark de Vries nor Gary Wales were able to capitalise.

Claudio Caniggia came close to opening the scoring for Rangers after a quarter-of-an-hour when he got his head to a Mikel Arteta free kick, but his glancing effort flew just wide.

Lorenzo Amoruso almost emulated last week's success from a dead-ball situation with a powerful effort from 25 yards, but Hearts keeper Tepi Moilanen was relieved to see the ball go inches past the post.

Scott Severin and Mikel Arteta tangle
Scott Severin and Mikel Arteta tangle
Rangers passed up a great chance when Fernando Ricksen cut the ball back with several blue jerseys waiting to pounce, but in the end, Kevin Muscat prodded the ball wide.

Ronald de Boer then had a goal controversially chopped off for offside just before the half-hour mark after Alan Maybury had managed to deny Caniggia a shot on goal with a last-ditch tackle.

Hearts replied through Jean-Louis Valois, who curled a shot from 25 yards, forcing Stefan Klos to tip over the bar.

Rangers' dominance was finally rewarded four minutes before half time when Arteta's free kick came off the head of Severin and flew into his own net.

Michael Mols was first to try his luck at the beginning of the second half, but his effort was tipped wide by Moilanen.

Hearts had a claim for a penalty when Wales' effort at goal struck the arm of Amoruso, but referee John Underhill ruled the ball had played the man.

Arteta squeezes a shot in past Andy Webster
Arteta squeezes a shot in past Andy Webster
Alan Maybury was booked for dissent and Rangers immediately replaced Caniggia with Peter Lovenkrands to test the Hearts defender.

The Dane threatened straight away, latching onto Arteta's pass to fire the ball across goal, but Stephane Mahe was able to clear.

Arthur Numan had to be alert at the other end to prevent De Vries a clear sight of goal.

Ferguson fired over when he should have hit the target and substitute Shota Arveladze did no better with the whole goal to shoot at.

Moilanen pulled off a fantastic reflex save from De Boer with 15 minutes remaining as Rangers pressed for a killer second goal.

But Rangers had to survive a last-minute scramble in their penalty area in order to ensure the three points.


Rangers: Klos, Muscat, Malcolm, Amoruso, Numan, Ricksen, Ferguson, Arteta, Caniggia (Lovenkrands 62), Mols (Arveladze 69), De Boer.

Subs Not Used: McGregor, Eggen, Hughes.

Hearts: Moilanen, Maybury, Pressley, Webster, Mahe, Boyack (Simmons 73), Severin, MacFarlane (McKenna 72), Valois (Kirk 85), De Vries, Wales.

Subs Not Used: Gordon, McCann.

Booked: Mahe, De Vries, Pressley, MacFarlane, Webster, Maybury.

Att: 49,459

Ref: J Underhill

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's David Begg
"The league leaders stretch their advantage "
Rangers boss Alex McLeish
"Good performance, just lacking the goals"
Hearts boss Craig Levein
"I thought we did okay"
The SPL season gets under way

Weekend games

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