Rangers were brought crashing down from their Europa League high as Hearts’ Oliver Bozanic dumped Steven Gerrard’s side out of the William Hill Scottish Cup within the quarter-finals.
Rangers were hoping Wednesday’s stunning Europa League convert Braga would spark a turnaround in domestic fortunes. But instead they face another trophyless season unless they will still wade through in Europe after Bozanic handed Daniel Stendel’s Premiership strugglers a shock 1-0 win at Tynecastle. agen judi bola judibolaterbaik.co
Later Gerrard said he needed time to chew over his Rangers future. “I got to think hard about where we are at as a gaggle . i want to try to to some real, serious thinking within the next 24, 48 hours. i’m feeling pain immediately because i would like to win here, i’m wanting to win here.
“Looking from the side today, I didn’t get the impression that the sensation amongst my players was an equivalent . The performance was nowhere near ok .”
The big news before kick-off was the absence of Rangers’ top-scorer Alfredo Morelos after he was dropped for returning late from a visit to Colombia.
Referee Steven McLean was centre-stage with a string of bizarre decisions that infuriated each side . But Hearts weren’t complaining at full time as they marched into the Hampden semi-final with their second convert Rangers during a month.
Morelos was expected to return after being suspended for the stunning win in Portugal. But instead the Colombian was dropped after upsetting Gerrard by reporting back late from an agreed trip to his home country to affect a family matter. it had been the last item the manager needed as Rangers looked to capitalise on the euphoria of their midweek victory, which sets up a clash with Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen.
With Florian Kamberi cup-tied and Jermain Defoe only fit enough for the bench, Greg Stewart took over up front while Liam Boyce – January’s match-winner – was also a substitute after a bout of illness.
As if that wasn’t dramatic enough, the 45 minutes which followed were incident-packed. There was just 14 minutes gone when John Souttar went down off the ball, clutching an equivalent achilles he ruptured back in 2017, with Clévid Dikamona replacing the defender.
Rangers were lucky to not then lose Ryan Jack when he lunged in late on Michael Smith. From the resulting free-kick, Steven Naismith had a header tipped over by his old Ibrox teammate Allan McGregor before Loïc Damour’s scrambled effort was blocked by James Tavernier.
Then came the flashpoints as referee McLean’s control of proceedings evaporated. He got his first big call all wrong as he denied Rangers a penalty when Ryan Kent was flattened by Damour’s bodycheck within the 35th minute.
Hearts were even as aggrieved when the official then did not spot George Edmundson’s blatant penalty-box handball in first-half stoppage-time, instead giving a corner.
And for a flash it seemed like he had given a goal to Damour when the Frenchman used both hands to punch the shock McGregor from the resulting delivery before belatedly ruling the goal out.
McLean found himself surrounded because the teams went down the tunnel, with Hearts still arguing over their failed penalty appeal and McGregor demanding an evidence why Damour – already on a yellow for tripping Kent – had not been shown a second.
In the 58th minute the house faithful erupted when Bozanic’s strike hit the rear of internet . Tavernier left McGregor in no-man’s land with a poor backwards header from a Conor Washington clearance and Lewis Moore took full advantage, rounding the keeper before curtailing for the Australian to comb home.
Rangers knew their best hope of lifting a trophy this term was slipping away. Kent forced a save from Zdenek Zlamal while Gerrard threw on Ianis Hagi and Defoe to steer his rescue mission. But it had been Hearts who almost added a second with quarter of an hour left as Naismith poked wide after an Edmundson blunder.
The young Rangers defender was man of the match in midweek but he then blew the prospect to become Rangers’ weekend saviour as he headed two glorious near-post opportunities over Zlamal’s goal to go away the trail clear for Celtic to conclude another domestic treble.