Rangers’ title hopes suffered a blow as Liam Boyce’s late debut perform gave struggling with bottom facet Hearts a comeback victory within the Scottish Premiership.
Steven Gerrard’s team, who stay five points within the attend of Celtic with a game in hand, went ahead when Ryan Kent fired high into the web after the ruin.
However the home facet answered as Boyce field up Steven Naismith to chip dwelling.
The midweek signing from Burton Albion’s deflected shot won it for the home facet with seven minutes final.
It gave supervisor Daniel Stendel a principal league victory, ending Hearts’ bustle of 10 league video games with out a hang, five of them at dwelling, and taking them to interior a level of Hamilton Academical.
Defeat in Gerrard’s a centesimal game in charge ends Rangers’ bustle of six consecutive victories and seven with out a defeat.
Yarn of two signings at Tynecastle
With Gerrard’s facet arriving within the capital in search of a fourth consecutive away hang, unbeaten in 10 on the avenue, having won their two most latest conferences with Hearts by an 8-0 mixture, unbeaten in four visits to Tynecastle and with out a loss in 12 conferences between the perimeters since February 2017, nothing hinted at what was once to have a study.
Despite these statistics, Stendel promised to play on the entrance foot and being precise to his word extended even to the bench – the keep there was once now not a defender in search for.
No longer joyful with the promise shown on Wednesday, Boyce and fellow novel signing Toby Sibbick had been among five changes made by the German from the 0-0 blueprint away to Ross County.
Most attention-grabbing 20, pure precise-attend Sibbick had been a frequent below Stendel at Barnsley nevertheless had now not conducted since losing his site after the Championship facet lost 22 targets in his past nine begins.
On the different hand, the loan signing was once employed in a conserving role in entrance of the attend four as Hearts adopted the high press most smartly-most smartly-liked by the German, and the Englishman’s commanding presence conducted a phase in combating Rangers coming into into their lag despite the blueprint being fully anticipated by counterpart Gerrard.
Whether by design or now not, Rangers had been pressured to play on the counter-assault and, though Kent lashed over within the hole moments and Joe Aribo stabbed one other honest likelihood extensive, it was once Hearts who came closest to scoring before the ruin.
Boyce, who scored 14 targets in 34 appearances for League One outfit Burton this season before his midweek switch, flicked the ball into the web via goalkeeper Allan McGregor’s legs finest for the flag to cleave short the Northern Ireland striker’s celebrations.
Gerrard had seen sufficient by half of-time and took off Ryan Jack and Jon Flanagan, who had both been booked, sending on Scott Arfield and Matt Polster, and seeing the impasse broken without prolong.
Stendel had taken off Aidy White at the ruin and, with Sibbick having a behold much less cosy filling in at left-attend, the reorganised defence was once uncovered as Aribo conducted the ball cleverly into the lag of Kent from Borna Barisic’s low unpleasant and the winger powerfully dispatched into the some distance nook.
Rangers had been on top, nevertheless Hearts had been attend within the game 10 minutes later when Glen Halkett prodded ahead after Glen Kamara dallied on the ball and Boyce cleave it attend perfectly for extinct Rangers ahead Naismith to chip neatly into the some distance nook.
With a novel wave of optimism igniting Tynecastle, replace Conor Washington had a shot cleared off the motorway whereas Jermain Defoe did now not celebrate files of his eternal stride from Bournemouth with a winner as he skied over at the different stop.
It was once to be Hearts’ novel signing who had the final word, Boyce’s low drive taking a nick off Barisic’s heel to inflict Rangers’ first home away defeat since the final game of ultimate season and stretch Stendel’s unbeaten bustle to four video games.
Man of the match – Craig Halkett
BBC Scotland’s Brian McLauchlin at Tynecastle
Your complete plaudits should always stride to the Hearts gamers who as a particular person put their our bodies on the motorway for the 90 minutes.
Boyce led the motorway brilliantly on his debut and was once ably assisted by the novel membership captain Naismith.
Andrew Irving by no technique put a foot imperfect in midfield, nevertheless the award of man of the match should always stride to centre-half of Halkett.
The extinct Livingston defender was once gargantuan at some level of and by no technique gave the abilities of Defoe a sniff of perform and appears as if he is discovering the produce of produce he was once showing before his hurt earlier within the season.