Rangers beat Hearts in extra time to win Scottish Cup

The Ibrox club won the last silverware of the season just days after the Europa League disappointment.

Rangers beat Hearts in extra time to win Scottish Cup SNS Group

Rangers have won the Scottish Cup, beating Hearts 2-0 in the final at Hampden.

Goals from Ryan Jack and Scott Wright won the match for the Light Blues after the sides had proven hard to separate at the national stadium.

The Ibrox side have won the trophy just days after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst had made five changes to his side after the match in Spain, while Hearts boss Robbie Neilson had named his strongest side after a number of players had come back from injuries in recent weeks.

Neilson had promised an attacking start as his team tested for signs of weariness in the Rangers ranks and Hearts had the first big chance when Liam Boyce received a pass in the box and played the ball low across goal. Ellis Simms slid in to finish only for the ball to clip the wrong side of the post.

Just a few minutes later, Rangers had a similar chance. A high ball to Amad Diallo on the right was brought down with ease and he raced into the box but an inviting ball in was cleared without a taker. Scott Arfield and then James Tavernier were then able to put in deliveries from the right but Hearts were resolute in defence.

Ryan Kent had a shot past the post after a dangerous pass back from Craig Halkett to Craig Gordon had put the defence under pressure but despite plenty of probing from both sides, the goalkeepers were largely untested.

Boyce was central everything Hearts were doing right but it was his fellow attacker Simms who looked the more likely to break the deadlock, constantly pushing to get through the back line and get a shot away.

Rangers’ attacks were mainly coming down the flanks and that gave Joe Aribo an opportunity after 38 minutes. Kent played in Bassey and the defender’s cross was well-judged but Aribo’s header went wide.

The same combination set up a cross that Diallo headed over under pressure as half time drew near.

When Willie Collum brought the first half to a close, both sides could reflect on chances but there was little between the teams.

With neither manager opting to make a change at the break, it was more of the same after the restart. Rangers forced an early corner, then Hearts had a chance to put the ball into the box from a free-kick, but neither caused real danger.

After another Halkett back-pass had hearts in mouths as Gordon took his time to clear, Rangers had another good chance. A ball from deep through the middle saw Kent race on to finish but the Hearts goalkeeper was out smartly to block at the winger’s feet.

Scott Wright replaced Diallo after a booking for the winger was swiftly followed by another foul.

A mazy run from Wright brought Rangers a corner with 20 minutes to go but nothing came from it and extra time began looking like an increasingly likely prospect with the teams cancelling each other out.

After Aribo played an inviting ball across goal, Calvin Bassey forced another corner and after it was initially cleared, Rangers held possession and the defender got into a position where he had a shot at goal. Gordon was down quickly to save.

Hearts freshened things up with Boyce coming off to be replaced by Andy Halliday for the closing stages, then Josh Ginelly for Barrie McKay. Ryan Jack and Glen Kamara subbed on for Scott Arfield and Steve Davis with ten minutes to go.

Leon Balogun flashed a header over the bar from a Tavernier corner, then Lundstram had a powerful effort blocked as Rangers tried to get the breakthrough, A Hearts corner with two minutes left gave them a chance for a late winner but amounted to nothing.

Rangers fans were on their feet when a through ball into Aribo allowed the attacker to get a shot away. It was headed for the bottom corner but Gordon’s outstretched leg diverted it narrowly past the post. Rangers had a strong penalty claim with Atkinson appearing to pull Aribo back. 

Three additional minutes were added but no goal was forthcoming and extra time was needed.

Rangers had the first chance of the added time when Aribo headed over but moments later they were ahead.

A corner on the left was headed clear but Jack collected 20 yards out and rifled a powerful shot past Gordon and high into the net.

A second goal minutes later wrapped it up. Hearts were on the attack but a quick counter saw Kent carry the ball through the centre, then feed Wright, who had sprinted up in support. The forward set himself and drilled a low shot into the far corner. 

Rangers were in control at the break, while Hearts needed a huge turnaround in fortunes in the remaining 15 minutes. Fashion Sakala replaced Aribo as Van Bronckhorst brought fresh legs into attack.

Allan McGregor replaced Jon McLaughlin in goal for the final minutes in what is likely to be his final appearance for the club and there was no late drama before Willie Collum blew for full time and Rangers celebrated winning their first major domestic cup since 2009.

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