Hearts deny Rangers win

Date published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 1:50

Gary Caldwell: Wigan form slowly improving

On a day when the Edinburgh side were presented with the trophy, after topping the table by 23 points, Rangers took a two-goal lead before the break and were heading for three points before Zeefuik saved the day for the hosts.

Rangers themselves had arrived in the capital knowing only a win would suffice if they were to stand any chance of wrestling second spot from Hibernian.

However, with Hibs winning 3-0 at Falkirk, Rangers’s late lapse did not turn out to be crucial, leaving Stuart McCall’s side knowing that they now face a potential six play-off matches if they are to reach the holy grail of the Scottish Premiership.

With the atmosphere buzzing during the early stages, Hearts dominated possession and created the first real chance of the game after 10 minutes when Miguel Pallardo’s slide-rule pass to Jamie Walker sent the forward through on goal only to be denied by an excellent save by Cammie Bell.

But against the run of play, Rangers went ahead in the 32nd minute when Nicky Law’s free-kick was met by Darren McGregor who found enough space in a crowded area to head home from 10 yards.

Tynecastle then erupted in a torrent of boos as Osman Sow went down under a challenge by Bell but referee Calum Murray opted not to award Hearts a penalty.

And within 30 seconds, Rangers went up the other end and grabbed a second goal with an unmarked Kenny Miller enjoying the simple task of converting Richard Foster’s low cross five minutes before the break.

As Hearts tried to get back into the match, in what was a more muted second-half atmosphere, Walker tested Bell from 25 yards but the visiting keeper was always in control of matters.

Bell had to be more alert a few minutes later as he blocked Kevin McHattie from close range.

Marius Zaliukas missed a great chance to head Rangers further ahead on 76 and, just when it appeared that Hearts were to suffer only a second home league defeat of the season, Zeefuik pulled a goal back when he headed home a deep Morgaro Gomis cross.

And with 89 minutes on the clock, substitute Zaliukas lashed home the equaliser from 12 yards after Rangers had failed to clear a loose ball.

The result leaves Rangers facing a two-legged play-off against Queen of the South, with the winners of that contest taking on Hibernian.

And, whoever emerges victorious from this encounter, will face another two-legged clash against the team that finishes 11th in the Scottish Premiership.

However, the day belonged to Hearts who head back to the Scottish Premiership at the first attempt following just three defeats in 36 matches.

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