Three burning issues as Rangers cruise to Hearts win that could spark title momentum

Rangers' Antonio Colak celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the game during the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle Park
Rangers' Antonio Colak celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the game during the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle Park

RANGERS moved into pole position in the Premiership title race and above Old Firm rivals Celtic with victory over Hearts at Tynecastle.

It was as pleasing and as straightforward an afternoon as the visitors could have hoped for as they returned to action after the international break.

Here are three burning issues after a fine win that saw Rangers put the pressure on Celtic ahead of their clash with Motherwell.

RANGERS MUST BUILD TITLE MOMENTUM

This was a statement of intent from Rangers. It must now be the start of a run that lays down a real marker in the Premiership leading into the break for the World Cup next month.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst dismissed concerns over his record on the road before the trip to Tynecastle and a third win at this venue was the perfect response to those who feared the worst about what kind of performance Rangers would serve up.

This victory should have been even more comfortable than it was. Hearts will point to the red card to Cammy Devlin but Rangers were well worthy of a 2-0 lead at the break and could, and should, have added to it.

The second half was something of a non-event in truth. A fine strike from Alfredo Morelos and lovely Ryan Kent effort added a shine to the scoreline that Rangers merited for their dominance.

CLINICAL COLAK CONTINUES FINE FORM

You simply cannot argue with the striker’s record this term. A first half brace – comprised of a clinical header that went in off the post and a neat finish from a tight angle – made it 11 goals from 14 appearances for the Croatian.

Many would have suspected that Morelos would get the nod to lead the line here but the Colombian had to wait for his chance. Once again, Colak ensured he could have no complaints at the call.

The Champions League clash with Liverpool looks more suited to Morelos than his forward compatriot and it may well be that Colak misses out at Anfield. He has more than played his part so far, though, and his goals will be crucial in the Premiership title race.

DEVLIN CAN HAVE NO COMPLAINTS

It would have been almost impossible for anyone in the home end to argue that Hearts were going to come back from two goals down and earn three points here. But the red card for Devlin was the final blow to their chances as the second half became a damage limitation job for Robbie Neilson’s side.

The tackle from Devlin was as reckless as it was stupid. There was no need for him to charge into Rabbi Matondo in such a fashion, and certainly no need to go full force onto the ankle of the winger.

Referee Steven McLean really had no option but to go straight for the red card. The Gorgie faithful were furious, but it was their midfielder that should have been on the end of their anger.