Five Guys? Five goals, as Rangers rout Hearts

Five Guys? Five goals, as Rangers rout Hearts
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Rangers manager Philippe Clement is seen during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Heart of Midlothian at Ibrox Stadium on February 24, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There is absolutely no doubt today’s rout of Hearts has been coming, a long time coming.

This was a result where everything fell into place for the home side, up against the (now formerly) most in-form team in the Scottish Premiership, and annihilated them from the first whistle.

This was, no question, by a distance the most complete performance from Clement’s side and has fans in raptures at how effectively quiet he and Rangers kept the visitors and their captain Lawrence Shankland.

Ibrox Noise had explained that the way to nullify Hearts was to take away their captain – he is, and was horrible for keeping the ball, and if he wasn’t even in the match then they were and are rather lost without him.

He did manage 42 touches of the ball, which is healthy, but thanks to Rangers’ intelligent tactics of strangling the space around him, there was just no one around him to feed off, and he ended up unable to cause any real damage in the final third.

But more tellingly, this was the best football Rangers have played under Clement – it was hungry, it was exciting, it was defensively solid, and it blew the visitors away from the first whistle.

Ibrox Noise warned what a challenge Hearts would be – well, once again, Clement took what he’d learned in the previous encounter, and used it against Naismith’s men – he did the same with the Dons, he took the 1-1 and used it at Hampden to trophy-winning effect.

And that challenge from Gorgie crumbled very quickly, with the scoreline even flattering the visitors as the home side, again, were rather wasteful, but nowhere near as bad as v County, with 5 goals from 17 shots.

This time it was a much, much better side than Dingwall’s lot, and Rangers crushed them without much difficulty, in truth.

Was this victory a statement of title intent?

Yes, we’d say Rangers have laid down a massive gauntlet to our friends in the east, who, finally, at long last are now the ones playing catch up. Any more dropped points from them and a continuation of this kind of form and Rangers may start to look like Champions elect before long.

Clement’s record has been spectacular, and this performance and result was as unexpected as it was welcome.

With this level of consistency, James Tavernier might even treat himself to another Five Guys.

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