Date: 26th November 2008 at 8:25pm
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As we did ahead of our home match with Celtic a few weeks ago, I’ve decided to take a look back at some of the more memorable clashes that Hearts have had over the years with the other half of the Old Firm ahead of their visit to Tynecastle this Saturday. See if you can recall any of these…….

Hearts 4-2 Rangers (Scottish Cup 4th Round, 1995)

This was a fabulous cup-tie that saw Tommy McLean’s struggling Hearts securing an improbable victory over a Rangers side who were at the peak of their powers during their famous ‘nine in a row’ run.

On a freezing cold evening at Tynecastle, the home side roared into a two-goal first half lead through the Canadian full-back Colin Miller, who scored a daisy-cutting direct free-kick past the hapless Ally Maxwell, and Davie McPherson, who scored a header just before the break against the team he’d recently left for the second time in his career, this time as a makeweight in the deal that took Alan McLaren to Ibrox.

However the tie was far from over, and like the true champions that they were back then, Rangers came right back into it in the second half, and two quick goals from Brian Laudrup and Gordon Durie had Hearts on the ropes.

Thankfully though Hearts restored the lead within minutes of the equaliser after John Robertson (who else?!) took advantage of Maxwell being unable to hold a Jim Bett volley, and from then on it was backs-to-the-wall stuff for Hearts against their technically superior opponents. If Robbo hadn’t scored when he did then I’m quite certain I wouldn’t be writing about this match right now!

In the dying moments of the match the home side went onto complete a famous win when Davie McPherson went on one of his legendary charges down the right wing having taken a one-two on the half-way line and springing the offside trap. As he bore down on goal he cut the ball back for young Kevin Thomas to roll the ball home to make it 4-2, sparking some of the most memorable scenes of celebration ever seen at the ‘new’ Tynecastle. A great night.

Hearts 2-2 Rangers (SPL, 1993)

This was another match involving two sides whose fortunes contrasted in the extreme, with Sandy Clark’s Jambos struggling at the bottom of the league up against a very strong Rangers side boasting the likes of Mark Hateley when he was at his best.

It was Hateley who put Rangers two goals up before the interval, in some style too, to initiate what looked for all the money as though it would be a real gubbing for Hearts.

However the home side were boosted in the second half with the introduction of substitute Gary Mackay, and it was this legendary Hearts stalwart who got his side back into the match with a fine left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area to bring the deficit back to one.

As the rain lashed down the greasy conditions started to suit Hearts, and recent acquisition Maurice Johnston really began to show his quality against one of his many former clubs.

Rangers were always looking dangerous going forward, but Hearts were the side who ended the match the stronger of the two, and in the end were able to snatch a dramatic point when, getting on the end of Robbo’s driven cross with the outside of his right boot, John Colquhoun came steaming in at the far post to plant a rare diving header into the Rangers net to send Tynecastle into raptures. I can still see JC sliding towards the Shed on his knees in celebration……

Hearts 1-0 Rangers (SPL, 1991)

This was the game that made everyone sit up and take notice of Joe Jordan’s Hearts at the beginning of the ’91/92 season.

Hearts had started the season with away wins at Dunfermline and Airdrie, but most people felt that the good run was bound to come undone against the champions in this clash at Tynecastle, but it wasn’t to be.

Within seconds of the referee’s whistle Hearts were ahead after Scott Crabbe scored one of the quickest and most bizarre goals ever seen at Tynecastle. Gary Mackay fired a pass towards Crabbe, who was standing around 35 yards out from the Rangers goal, and the wee man unexpectedly hit it first time on the volley with unbelievable swerve. It looked as though it was going wide all the way until it took that swerve at the last minute, leaving new Rangers ‘keeper Andy Goram bemused and more than a little embarrassed – indeed it took the Jambos around me in the Shed a good few seconds to realise what had actually happened!

From then on, in true Joe Jordan style, it was a case of battening down the hatches and holding onto what they had for Hearts, and Henry Smith played one of the matches of his life to keep the likes of Johnston, Hateley and Huistra out.

In the end it had been a hell of a struggle, but this result inspired Hearts onto an unbeaten run that went on as far as February the following year before inevitably, the proverbial bubble burst….

Hearts 3-1 Rangers (SPL, 1986)

You should all remember this one, being as it was one of the few televised Hearts matches in the infamous ’85/86 season.

Hearts had already beaten Rangers at home both in the league (3-0) and Scottish Cup (3-2) that season, but with the league title now looking like a seriously possibility it was this match that had the most pressure attached to it from a Hearts point of view.

The home side went a goal up in the first half when John Robertson cleverly lobbed ‘keeper Nicky Walker (remember him?) from just inside the area after Kenny Black’s long through ball, and early into the second half he scored again from the penalty spot to double the lead.

Ally McCoist pulled one back from the penalty spot midway through the half to ensure an uncomfortable last 20 minutes or so, but Hearts dramatically sealed the victory with almost the last kick of the game when Sandy Clark, who had lost a boot in a previous skirmish inside the penalty area, got on the end of Robbo’s pass to dink it past Walker with his bootless foot! Legendary stuff.

Hearts 1-0 Rangers (SPL, 2005)

As it had back in ’91, this 1-0 win over Rangers early in the season also served notice that Hearts had the potential to be title challengers that year, this time under the guidance of George Burley, who had been tempted to Tynecastle by ‘colourful’ new owner Vladimir Romanov and his Chief Executive Phil Anderton.

However unlike your average victory over Rangers (like the one in ’91), which tends to be a ground-out affair involving technically superior opponents either having an ‘off-day’ or not getting the breaks for once, this was actually a Hearts team who were better than their opponents in every way for the first time in many a year.

The scoreline may well have been only 1-0 thanks to Roman Bednar’s first half header from Paul Hartley’s corner kick, but Hearts outplayed Rangers in this match from first to last, and if Bednar hadn’t been forced to limp off with a pretty serious injury just before half-time (one that he never seemed to fully recover from whilst at Tynecastle), then we could have been looking at one of Hearts’ biggest ever wins in this fixture.

As it was though, they were still able to win the match more comfortably than the scoreline suggested, and this proved to be the catalyst for what was to be quite a season from then on, with many highs (Burley’s three months, the eventual cup win, getting to see players like Skacel and Bednar in their prime) and many lows (the Burley/Anderton/Foulkes debacle, the appointment of Rix, the New Year defeat to Celtic) being experienced by a revitalised Hearts support. Oh for another season like that one…..

There have been many more classic matches between the two sides over the years of course, but sadly I have a feeling that most of them have ended in victories for the bad guys! Feel free to mention any particular favourites that I’ve missed out in the comments below though…..


5 Replies to “Classic Hearts-Rangers Memories”

  • Excellent suff, Mr H. I’d like to add a personal favourite – a remarkable comeback in 1984 at Tynecastle, when we trailed 2-0 going into the last 2 minutes (Coisty and Mr Blobby having scored). Derek O’Connor pulled one back as time ran out. Then our emerging goal machine took a pass on his thigh with his back to goal at the edge of the Rangers box (School end). Despite being closely marked (possibly by big Dave McP !!), young Robbo wheeled round and hit a wonderful shot at shoulder height to everyone’s amazement – and it flew into the net. Cue total mayhem and delirious jubilation. Last minute draws plucked from the jaws of defeat against the OF or Hibs always feel like victory !!

  • Yeah good shout on both counts there. The 1984 game a bit before my time as a Jambo, but I’ve seen that goal many times and I don’t think I’ve ever seen wilder scenes of celebration!

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