Rangers produced a scintillating second half display to come from behind and beat battling Hearts 2-1.
Rangers were dealt a huge blow early on when Kevin Thomson was sent off for a late challenge on Ian Black after just 12 minutes. Hearts almost took advantage immediately when winger Suso smashed the ball off of Allan McGregor`s goal after Madjid Bougherra failed to usher the ball out of play for a goal kick.
It wasn`t long before the Edinburgh side did take advantage, as Austrian striker David Witeveen`s tame effort found its way into the net after some slack goalkeeping from Gers keeper Allan McGregor.
Hearts soon brought on young striker Gary Glen for Christian Nade and the youngster imposed himself well. Nade was lucky to remain on the park after a catalogue of fouls saw him eventually booked.
Rangers struggled for the remainder of the first-half but the second was a different story. Walter Smith sent his players out in an attacking formation, with Papac, Bougherra and Weir forming a back-three and substitute Steven Smith serving as a wing-back along with his right-sided counterpart Whittaker. McCulloch and Davis produced a battling display that would eventually drive Rangers on to victory.
Smith`s delivery from wide areas and set-pieces was excellent, and it finally paid off when Lee McCulloch glanced Smith`s precise free-kick past Ballog to level the game for Rangers shortly after McGregor made an outstanding save from Suso at the other end.
Rangers looked the most likely to score as the game wore on and eventually got their reward when Steven Naismith was felled by Bouzid. The challenge was reckless and left referee Craig Thomson in no doubt. Late substitute Kris Boyd made no mistake from the penalty spot as he ensured Rangers claimed all three points.
Both Bouzid and Thomson gave today`s ref two huge decisions to make for rash challenges and both paid the price.
However, it was the encouraging winning mentality, particularly in the second half that saw Rangers over the finish line.
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