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Rangers 5-0 Hearts: Clement's side claim 10th win on the spin
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Ronnie Esplin
Press Association
Rangers’ Cyriel Dessers scores against Hearts (Steve Welsg/PA)
Rangers’ Cyriel Dessers scores against Hearts (Steve Welsg/PA)

Rampant Rangers stormed five points clear of Celtic at the top of the cinch Premiership with a 5-0 hammering of Hearts at Ibrox.

Midfielder Mohamed Diomande fired the home side ahead with just over a minute played and wide-man Oscar Cortes doubled that lead after 37 minutes with his first goal as a Light Blues player, with striker Cyriel Dessers adding a third and fourth just before and after the break.

Philippe Clement’s side kept pushing and substitute Fabio Silva scored a fifth just after the hour mark with Rangers’ biggest home win of the season piling pressure on Celtic, who take on Motherwell at Fir Park on Sunday knowing there is no room for error.

The Ibrox side, who were paired with Benfica in the Europa League last-16 draw on Friday, were high on confidence after winning their previous nine matches.

However, they were without injured Todd Cantwell with Tom Lawrence one of four changes along with Ridvan Yilmaz, Dujon Sterling and Dessers. Kemar Roofe was back on the bench after two months out and would make a late appearance.

Hearts had reason to believe they could cause an upset despite three defeats out of three against the Govan side this season.

Steven Naismith’s men were unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions and captain Lawrence Shankland led the league goalscoring charts with 18 goals in 26 counters for club and country so far this season.

However, the Tynecastle outfit, who had Nathaniel Atkinson, Jorge Grant and Kenneth Vargas back in the side, were stunned by the loss of the early goal.

Hearts were in their shape when 20-year-old Cortes came in from the left and set up Diomande but he sized up the shot from 20 yards and drilled the ball low past Gorgie keeper Zander Clark, his second Rangers goal after scoring his first last week against St Johnstone.

The football was frantic.

A lung-bursting run by Dessers ended up with his shot saved by Clark, who made an even better save from skipper James Tavernier’s powerful drive moments later.

Dessers should have had the ball in the net in the 18th minute after Clark had parried a long-distance drive from Yilmaz but the Jambos keeper saved his header and then his shot, although the offside flag was up.

The Gers striker then headed a Yilmaz cross past the post with only Clark to beat.

Just as Hearts worked their way back into the game, they conceded a second with Lawrence taking a Sterling pass and motoring forward before squaring for Cortes and he curled the ball low past the diving Clark, who was soon picking the ball out of his net again when Dessers side-footed a John Souttar cross past him.

The Jambos defence failed to deal with Sterling’s cross into the box early in the second half and Dessers lashed the ball into the net from close range, the goal surviving a VAR check for handball.

Silva and Ross McCausland replaced Lawrence and Sterling before Tavernier’s cut-back across the six-yard box evaded the sliding Dessers.

But there was no respite for the visitors.

In the 65th minute, midfielder John Lundstram slid in Silva and his angled-drive beat Clark and found the far corner.

The distressed Gorgie side kept on going.

Gers keeper Jack Butland was beaten by a Shankland header but the ball rebounded off the post and Rangers escaped, with Butland making a decent save from Grant’s 25-yard free-kick and substitute Kyosuke Tagawa’s curling strike.

However, another clean sheet was registered by the home side and they will travel to Kilmarnock on Wednesday with increasing title belief.


Scottish PremiershipHeartsRangers
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