thumbnail Hello,

The Scottish champions fail to a record a victory on the opening day of the new campaign, and are forced to come from behind at Ibrox to snatch a draw

Rangers manager Ally McCoist could only watch his side manage a draw with Hearts as the Ibrox men started their campaign to claim a fourth league title in a row by needing an equaliser from Steven Naismith to cancel out a first half effort from David Obua.

McCoist brought in new signing Juan Manuel Ortiz to start the game on the right wing, while fellow new boy Lee Wallace, who made the move along the M8 from the Tynecastle club during the week, was forced to settle for a place on the bench. The Rangers gaffer also recalled defender Kirk Broadfoot to step in for suspended skipper David Weir.

His opposite number Jim Jefferies gave debuts to three of his four new signing, with Danny Grainger taking over from Wallace at left back, while Mehdi Taouil and John Sutton were also handed starts, with the final new signing Jamie Hamill unavailable due to suspension.

The visitors started off the brightest with winger David Templeton coming close after he had been put in on the left hand side, but Rangers keeper Allan McGregor was up to the challenge as he seen the ball out of danger.

With nearly five minutes gone the champions could have gone into the lead as Nikica Jelavic acrobatically brought the ball down, but the Croatian striker could not find the net as his chance went wide of Marian Kello’s right hand post.

Hearts were then forced to make a change as centre back Andy Webster pulled up and was forced to leave the field with Jefferies replacing the former Rangers defender with midfielder Adrian Mrowiec, which meant that the Icelandic international was forced to move in to the slot vacated by Webster.

But that blow didn’t effect Hearts as they went into the lead on the quarter of an hour mark as Danny Grainger swung a corner in from the left, finding the unmarked Obua, who got away from Steven Whittaker and headed the ball into the middle of the Rangers net.

The Jambos had further chances to extend their lead as a Grainger throw in was knocked on by John Sutton onto the feet of Templeton, but the Hearts winger could not find the net as McGregor closed the angle and managed to divert the ball for a corner.

Then Obua had an opportunity to get his second of the game as Templeton found the Ugandan international in space, but once again McGregor came to the rescue for the champions as he once again closed down the ball, making it hard for Obua to find the target.   

Just before the half time whistle Rangers should have got on level terms as Whittaker found Jelavic with a cross from the right wing, he then knocked the ball into the path of the onrushing Steven Naismith, but before the striker could get his shot off Ian Black made a goal-saving challenge to keep Hearts in the lead going into the break.

The home side, with the boos of the fans still ringing in their ears, came out with real purpose as they had four opportunities within the first five minutes, as firstly Broadfoot came close with a header from a corner.

Then Steven Davis had a golden opportunity as the midfielder played a one-two with Jelavic, but his tame finish was easily saved by Kello at the second attempt to keep the Edinburgh side in the lead.

Naismith was the next to try his luck as he had two chances to get his side level, with the first one being an open goal after the ball had evaded the Hearts defence and found the Scotland international free on the right hand side of the penalty area, but he rattled the ball over the bar.

Hearts suffered even more bad news minutes later as Templeton, who had received a head knock towards the end of the first half was forced from the field, suffering from double vision, to be replaced by Stephen Elliott.

Just before the hour mark Rangers got back on level terms as Sasa Papac got a cross in from the left wing at the second attempt and found the onrushing Naismith, who headed the ball beyond Kello and into the left corner of the net, much to the relief of the home faithful.

With an quarter of an hour remaining McCoist decided to make his first change as Rangers boss, taking off his new signing Ortiz and replacing him with young winger Gregg Wylde in an attempt to claim all three points on his debut as the Ibrox gaffer.

Hearts could have gone back into the lead a minute later as a long throw from Grainger was brought down by Sutton, allowing Obua to have a strike which McGregor managed to palm over the bar for a corner.

The home side continued to press forward in search of a winner, but ultimately they were forced to settle for a point from the first game of the season. 



Related

From the web