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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 August 2006, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Rangers 2-0 Hearts
By Julian Taylor

Kris Boyd was on target twice at Ibrox
Boyd scored twice as Rangers won comfortably at Ibrox
Kris Boyd underlined his striking power with a double as Rangers swept aside title rivals Hearts in a pulsating afternoon's entertainment at Ibrox.

A closely contested first-half was followed by Rangers taking the lead after the break, when Boyd converted a penalty after Dado Prso was fouled.

Boyd then bulleted home a 49th minute header from a Lee Martin cross to give Paul Le Guen's team breathing space.

Hearts were overpowered and had Robbie Neilson sent off at the end.

Le Guen made four surprise changes following successive draws against Dundee United and Dunfermline.

Kris Boyd, Lee Martin, Chris Burke and new loan signing Phil Bardsley replaced Thomas Buffel, Charlie Adam, Libor Sionko and Alan Hutton.

Calum Elliot was a surprise inclusion in the Hearts starting line-up despite being poised to join either Motherwell or Falkirk on loan.

But there was no place in the squad for new Lithuanian arrival Marius Zaliukas.

Both teams dropped points last weekend, and the game - one of the biggest in the SPL calendar - started at a frantic pace, with the visitors adopting a robust approach.

Rangers wingers Martin and Burke were causing early problems.

Jeremy Clement drilled a shot wide before Karl Svensson came close with a close-range header from a Burke corner, but Craig Gordon managed to smother on the line.

The Hearts keeper was called into action again a few minutes later.

From Martin's free-kick, Julien Rodriguez tested Gordon with a header.

At the other end, Rangers goalkeeper Lionel Letizi managed to tip a Bruno Aguiar free-kick from 25 yards over the crossbar.

While Hearts wanted to establish their title credentials with a win in Glasgow, it was Rangers who were sharper in midfield.

And the Edinburgh side had to defend before the interval when Prso's shot was blocked by Gordon before Boyd's rebound was cleared off the line by Robbie Neilson.

Le Guen's men were a little unlucky not be ahead at the break, but it didn't matter as just two minutes into the second half, Boyd struck.

Neilson hauled down Prso in the penalty area and a spot-kick was awarded.

Boyd confidently despatched the penalty, firing the ball into the top right hand corner, with Gordon going the wrong way.

The former Kilmarnock striker added a quick second, just as Hearts were trying to regroup.

Rangers' Jeremy Clement (left) challenges Calum Elliot
Rangers' Clement (left) had an excellent game

In the 49th minute, Martin sent in a precise cross which Boyd headed home from six yards with the visitors rearguard mysteriously absent.

Two goals up, confidence surged through the Ibrox ranks, Prso hitting the crossbar.

New Rangers signing Filip Sebo replaced Boyd with the Slovakian international anxious to make his mark.

There was further misery for the Tynecastle side when Pospisil was forced out of the game and the injured Czech was replaced by former Ranger Neil McCann.

With Clement outstanding in the midfield for Rangers and Prso rampant, the dismissal of Neilson summed up Hearts' afternoon.

In injury time with the points already tied up, Neilson fouled Martin, before kicking the ball out in a fit of pique.

The subsequent red card hardly mattered as Rangers demonstrated their real quality under Le Guen for the first time this season.

Rangers: Letizi, Bardsley (Hutton 66), Rodriguez, Svensson, Smith, Burke (Buffel 88), Hemdani, Clement, Martin, Prso, Kris Boyd (Sebo 71). Subs Not Used: McGregor, Rae, Sionko, Adam.

Booked: Prso.

Goals: Kris Boyd 47 pen, 49.

Hearts: Gordon, Neilson, Pressley, Berra, Fyssas, Mikoliunas (Hartley 70), Aguiar, Brellier, Elliot, Jankauskas, Bednar (Pospisil 45), Pospisil (McCann 62). Subs Not Used: Banks, Wallace, Karipidis, Mole.

Sent Off: Neilson (90).

Booked: Brellier, Pressley, Fyssas, Neilson.

Att: 50,239

Ref: K Clark

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