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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 16:53 UK

Rangers 2-0 Hearts

By Andy Campbell

Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty
Lafferty celebrates his first goal for Rangers

Goals from Kyle Lafferty and Kris Boyd gave Rangers victory over 10-man Hearts at Ibrox.

Lafferty showed composure after 37 minutes to stroke Madjid Bougherra's cross past goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.

Hearts substitute Saulius Mikoliunas was sent off after 74 minutes following a second bookable offence.

And Boyd clinched the win in injury time from the penalty spot after Kenny Miller was tripped in the box by Hearts defender Lee Wallace.

Both sides went into the match hoping to maintain a winning start to the domestic season following victories in their respective opening SPL fixtures.

The first real attempt at goal came after four minutes when Rangers debutant Pedro Mendes played a neat pass to Lee McCulloch, whose shot was comfortably held by MacDonald, who was making his first appearance for Hearts.

Hearts were awarded a free-kick after 10 minutes following a poor challenge by McCulloch but Laryea Kingston's effort went high over the bar.

Within seconds former Hearts player Andrius Velicka nodded onto Kris Boyd, who attempted to lob the keeper only for MacDonald to claim the ball confidently.

Rangers had an injury scare on the half-hour mark as Lafferty needed treatment on what appeared to be a back injury but the Northern Ireland international soon returned to play.

His re-introduction to the match proved crucial as he opened the scoring on 37 minutes.

After Mendes' free-kick was initially cleared, Thomson played in Bougherra on the right-hand side and his cutback eventually found Lafferty, who calmly side-footed into the net for his first Rangers goal.

Rangers almost doubled their lead right at the start of the second half as Mendes played Boyd in on goal with an excellent pass but MacDonald was quick off his line to block the striker's shot.

Hearts went straight to the other end and forced Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor into a double save.

Michael Stewart and Pedro Mendes
Stewart (left) and Mendes battle for possession

Winger Andrew Driver found space on the left before releasing a fierce drive which was beaten away by the goalkeeper into the path of Audrius Ksanavicius whose rebound shot was held by McGregor.

Both sides made changes with Christian Nade replacing Ksanavicius for Hearts before Kenny Miller and DaMarcus Beasley were introduced for McCulloch and Lafferty respectively.

Boyd came close again after 63 minutes when he met Mendes' teasing cross with a left-foot volley which went narrowly wide.

After Mikoliunas replaced Kingston, Beasley capitalised on a mistake in the Hearts defence to round MacDonald at the by-line but there were no takers for his low cross across the six-yard box.

Mikoliunas then received two bookings in seven minutes as the visitors were reduced to ten men.

The Lithuanian winger was first shown a yellow card on 67 minutes for what the referee adjudged to be simulation before Mikoliunas' late challenge on Miller was punished with a second booking.

Hearts continued to press for an equaliser and Marius Zaliukas' long-range shot caused McGregor problems.

At the other end, substitute Jean-Claude Darcheville, who had replaced Velicka, sent over a cross which almost crept into the net.

The visitors claimed for a penalty in the closing minutes when Driver's shot appeared to hit Bougherra's arm in the box but referee Dougal waved play on.

As the match entered injury time, Rangers were awarded a spot-kick after Miller's meandering run was ended by Wallace's unfair challenge.

Boyd stepped up and fired low past MacDonald to seal the win.


Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, McCulloch (Miller 60), Thomson, Pedro Mendes, Lafferty (Beasley 62), Velicka (Darcheville 82), Boyd.
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Dailly, Furman, Fleck.

Booked: Thomson.

Goals: Lafferty 37, Boyd 90 pen.

Hearts: MacDonald, Thomson, Zaliukas, Berra, Lee Wallace, Kingston (Mikoliunas 65), Stewart, Karipidis, Driver, Mole (Cesnauskis 75), Ksanavicius (Nade 50).
Subs Not Used: Kello, Palazuelos, Makela, Jonsson.

Sent Off: Mikoliunas (74). Booked: Kingston, Mikoliunas.

Att: 48,191

Ref: S Dougal


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Rangers' Pedro Mendes 7.68 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




see also
SPL as it happened
16 Aug 08 |  Scottish Premier
SPL photo gallery
16 Aug 08 |  Scottish Premier


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