Dublin: 22°C Friday 23 July 2021

Rangers postpone Celtic title celebrations with win away to Hearts

Jermain Defoe was among the scorers for Steven Gerrard’s side.

Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring Rangers' first goal of the game.
Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring Rangers' first goal of the game.
Image: Ian Rutherford

RANGERS HAVE PUT Celtic’s Scottish Premiership title celebrations on ice for another week after their 3-1 win away to Hearts this afternoon.

Anything other than a win today for Steven Gerrard’s side would have opened the door for Celtic to secure their eight consecutive title against Hibernian tomorrow.

Jermain Defoe opened the scoring for the visitors, before goals from Ryan Jack and Nikola Katic secured the three points early in the second half.

Defoe showed his class remains even if at 36 his legs are understandably not as fast as they were, coolly finishing off a great move begun by Jon Flanagan’s crunching tackle to win possession on the halfway line.

Rangers doubled their lead in the 36th minute as once again Hearts gave up possession in midway up the field, Daniel Candeias then found Jack, whose sublime shot from the edge of the penalty area nestled into the back of the net.

Candeias was at the heart of their third, his cross being converted by Katic at the far post.

A passive Hearts finally raised their game shortly after the third goal — Craig Wighton’s goalbound header somehow being saved by Allan McGregor.

Steven MacLean did grab a consolation goal for the home side 15 minutes from time but it wasn’t enough to inspire his side to mount an unlikely comeback.

“I can’t ask for any more,” Gerrard told Sky Sports. “The supporters deserve four more strong performances before the end of the season.

We’ve underachieved at certain times, we’ve done well at times. Consistency is a word that has come up a lot.

“When we become capable of stringing a long winning run together that’s when we will be challenging.”

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Heart of Midlothian v Rangers - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Tynecastle Stadium Rangers striker, Jermain Defore. Source: Ian Rutherford

Celtic will have the chance to clinch the title next week when they week when they host Kilmarnock.

Neil Lennon’s side are still in search of an historic treble-treble and will face Hearts in the Scottish Cup final next month.

Rangers, meanwhile, cut the gap at the top of the league to eight points.

They remain on course to finish second, 10 points clear of third placed Kilmarnock and Aberdeen in fourth who both have a tally of 59 points.

With reporting from AFP

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