Hearts have continued their impressive unbeaten start the the Scottish Premiership, coming away from Ibrox with a 1-1 draw against Rangers thanks to a late Craig Halkett goal.
Both sides made one change from their last outing, Rangers captain James Tavernier coming back in for Scotland international Nathan Patterson while the visitors brought John Souttar back into the starting XI in place of Taylor Moore.
The Jambos started the game having to defend, Rangers moving the ball around well and trying to find gaps to get in behind with Scott Wright testing Craig Gordon early on as the hosts looked for an opener.
Hearts survived a major scare when Craig Halkett’s pass out to John Souttar was too short and allowed Wright to steal possession, slipping the ball across to Aribo before the Nigerian found Morelos in the box.
The Colombian, however, managed to pull his strike just wide of Gordon’s left-hand post as he looked odd-on to open the scoring and put Hearts’ unbeaten record at serious risk.
Hearts slowly started to find their footing in the game, forcing Rangers away from goal and keeping the Light Blues’ attackers in front of the Hearts back-three – allowing them to deal with what Rangers had to throw at them fairly comfortably.
Liam Boyce had a half-hearted claim for a penalty 27 minutes in, coming together with Leon Balogun as they chased a ball over the top but referee Don Robertson saw nothing in it and continued play as the Northern Irish striker protested.
Craig Gordon was the hero, denying Leon Balogun three times in quick succession from a corner as Rangers turned the pressure up in search for the opener; Gordon somehow scrambling the ball away as the Nigerian defender desperately tried to poke it over the line after his initial header was saved.
Rangers got a lucky break ten minutes before the break when Joe Aribo escaped what looked like it should have been a straight red with only a booking, going in high on Cammy Devlin after a poor touch saw the ball get away from the Nigerian.
Hearts’ resistance was finally broken five minutes before the break when John Lundstram curled the ball beyond Gordon from outside the area and breathe life into the Ibrox crowd as signs of frustration were starting to appear.
— Heart of Midlothian FC (@JamTarts) October 16, 2021
With no changes for either side at the break, Hearts looked to start the second half in a more attacking way, aiming to push Rangers further up the pitch and put pressure on the Light Blues’ defence.
It didn’t last long though as Rangers retook control of the game, pinning Hearts back in their own half and looking to double their advantage – poor finishing costing the hosts a couple of times.
As the game entered the final twenty minutes, Hearts burst to life, forcing a string of saves from Allan McGregor as Barrie McKay provided a brief reminder of what he used to do at Ibrox regularly.
The Jambos turned to Armand Gnanduillet for the final 15 minutes, bringing the 6’4″ striker on in place of the hard-working Alex Cochrane and put some more pressure on the Rangers centre backs.
Kemar Roofe almost doubled Rangers’ lead, clipping the ball over Gordon but the Scotland keeper got just enough on the ball to deflect it onto the post and deny Rangers a second.
Just as the game looked to be heading to the final whistle without further incident, Kingsley and Bacuna coming together and earning a booking with Robbie Neilson sent to the stand shortly afterwards.
The drama wasn’t done there though, Craig Halkett grabbing a 90th-minute equaliser and silencing Ibrox after Allan McGregor flapped at a corner and handed the ex-Ibrox kid a free header at the back post.
Halkett didn’t need asked twice and the defender headed home to grab a share of the spoils for the Tynecastle side.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic, Lundstram, Kamara, Aribo, Hagi, Morelos, Wright
Subs: McLaughlin, Bassey, Patterson, Davis, Bacuna, Roofe, Fashion Jr.
Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Souttar, Halkett, Kingsley, Cochrane, Baningime, Devlin, Woodburn, McKay, Boyce
Subs: Stewart, Haring, Mackay-Steven, Moore, Halliday, Gnanduillet, Ginnelly
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