Rangers moved to the top of the Premiership with a 4-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday lunchtime.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side made the most of playing before Celtic, leapfrogging their rivals, at least temporarily, and seeing off ten-man Hearts with relative ease.
Antonio Colak scored twice in the first half before Cammy Devlin was sent off for the hosts, before Alfredo Morelos and Rayan Kent scored in the second half in a comprehensive win.
Rangers started brightly and were ahead after just six minutes.
Colak won the ball in midfield and sprinted forward to get the end of a perfect cross from Kent and head low into the corner of the goal to put his side in front.
Hearts looked to respond quickly and Stephen Humphrys tried his luck with a shot that Allan McGregor collected. In a lively start with both sides on the front foot, the hosts then had a couple of corners before Scott Arfield threatened to double Rangers’ lead but shot wide after bursting through on goal.
A free-kick from Michael Smith was volleyed into Lawrence Shankland but the forward headed wide and Hearts soon paid the price for missed chances when they fell further behind.
John Lundstram fired a long cross-field pass to Rabbi Matondo and the winger slipped the ball in to Colak, who beat the onrushing Gordon from the corner of the six-yard box with a precise finish.
Hearts needed something to get a foothold in the game but their chances were dealt a serious blow seven minutes before the break.
Matondo was holding off the challenge of Alex Cochrane when Devlin raced in and stamped on Rangers wide-man’s ankle when trying to win the ball. Referee Steven McLean instantly showed the red card and Hearts could have little complaint about the decision. Peter Haring came on for Alan Forrest to shore up the midfield.
McLean’s next major decision was more questionable. With half-time looming Rangers went on the attack and Borna Barisic’s cross was tipped on by Hearts goalkeeper Gordon, only for Arfield to volley the ball into the net. The goal was chopped off after the referee believed Gordon had been pushed, though the keeper appeared to be unimpeded as he challenged for the ball.
Both sides made changes at half time. Robbie Neilson brought on Robert Snodgrass and Andy Halliday for Stephen Kingsley and Barrie McKay as he adapted his side to handle being a man down. Rangers introduced Steven Davis and James Sands for Ben Davies and Ryan Jack perhaps with an eye on Tuesday’s Champions League date with Liverpool.
The Hearts substitutes combined for the first chance of the second half when Halliday headed wide from a Snodgrass corner, before Ryan Kent had a shot deflected wide as Rangers went on the hunt for more goals. James Tavernier and then Lundstram both had attempts on goal as the visitors enjoyed their man advantage.
The changes continued, with Hearts replacing Orestis Kiomourtzoglou and Lawrence Shankland with Jorge Grant and Josh Ginnelly, while Malik Tillman and Alfredo Morelos came on for Arfield and Colak.
Morelos dragged a shot wide with 20 minutes to go but the Colombian striker wasn’t to be denied for long. On 75 minutes he swapped passes with Tavernier in the box and buried a shot past Gordon and into the net to remove any lingering doubt about the outcome.
The visitors continued to dominate possession and Hearts worked to prevent any further scoring.
Kent had the final word though, cutting inside the box to bury a powerful shot into the opposite corner for his first goal since December.
Both sides now turn their attention to glamorous but testing midweek European games.
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country