Rangers defeat Hearts to set up Scottish Cup final against Celtic

Cyriel Dessers scored both goals as Rangers won a hard-fought semi-final at Hampden on Sunday.

Rangers defeat Hearts to set up Scottish Cup final against Celtic SNS Group

Rangers have reached the Scottish Cup final with a 2-0 win over Hearts at Hampden.

The Ibrox side will face Celtic in next month’s showpiece final after a double from Cyriel Dessers proved to be the difference between the teams at the national stadium.

The Nigerian forward opened the scoring after just five minutes when Todd Cantwell picked him out in the box, allowing Dessers to turn neatly before burying a shot under Craig Gordon.

The Rangers number nine then made sure of his side’s place in the final when he scored his second 12 minutes from full time. After a surging run from Cantwell, Dessers took possession and finished at the second attempt.

Hearts had lost all four meetings with Rangers ahead of the game at Hampden, including a Viaplay Cup semi-final, but Steven Naismith’s side were on a good run of form that has as good as sewn up a third-place finish in the Premiership.

Rangers, title favourites just over a week ago, travelled to the national stadium off the back of a defeat to Ross County and a draw with Dundee that had seriously dented their hopes of winning the league.

Manager Philippe Clement range the changes with the intention of turning around his side’s trajectory. Connor Goldson, a virtual ever-present when fit in recent years, was dropped to the bench with Leon Balogun coming in. Mohamed Diomande, Rabbi Matondo and Dessers also returned to the starting line-up.

Clement had been confident ahead of the game that he would get a reaction from his players and he saw them start brightly.

Dessers had a chance after three minutes when he put the ball over the bar after an Abdallah Sima cross and he was on the scoresheet moments later.

Cantwell was quick to move the ball on to the striker when under pressure and Dessers showed clever feet to shift past Nathaniel Atkinson and slide a finish past Craig Gordon.

Hearts pushed back and Rangers had to call on Jack Butland to make important saves from Alan Forrest and Frankie Kent, though Kent’s effort would likely have been ruled offside if successful and reviewed by VAR.

Rangers led 1-0 at the break and Hearts came out hungry to get back into the game. Both sides were prone to errors and gifting each other possession but Hearts exerted pressure without creating many clear-cut chances.

Lawrence Shankland put a header into the side netting in one of their best opportunities but Rangers struck soon afterwards, finding a cutting edge they had lacked for long periods of the game.

Cantwell’s surging run carried the ball into the opposition box but when he couldn’t find space to squeeze his shot away, the midfielder knocked the ball right to Dessers. Gordon rushed out and blocked the striker’s shot but it rebounded back to Dessers’ feet and he coolly set himself before thumping his shot into the net.

The Nigerian could have had an opportunity for his hat-trick just before full-time but generously played the ball to Fabio Silva, who fell over the ball six yards out when it seemed easier to score.

Butland made a smart save to deny Yutaro Oda as Hearts searched for a lifeline and Rangers saw out the remaining minutes before celebrating reaching their second final of the season.

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