Rangers don’t have long to get over their Europa League disappointment and must now turn their attention to another final. This offers up their last opportunity for silverware this season having finished four points adrift of Celtic in the league, as well as bowing out of the League Cup at the semi-final stage to Hibs, just after Steven Gerrard had departed for Aston Villa but before Giovanni van Bronckhorst pitched up in Glasgow.
Hearts have certainly proved themselves to be no pushovers on their return to the top flight this season, and although they finished 28 points behind the Gers in the league, they were also 13 points clear of fourth-placed Dundee Utd. However, Rangers will take comfort from their final day win over Hearts, achieved despite resting their entire starting line-up for the game with Frankfurt.
In fact, Hearts head into this final without a win in four, losing each of the last three to Celtic (4-1), Motherwell (2-1) and Rangers (3-1). They’ve certainly suffered recently with defensive casualties, most notably first choice centre-back partnership Craig Halkett and John Souttar.
Neither of the duo have started any of the past five outings, with Hearts conceding at least twice in four of these, though they did both make it off the bench in the defeat to Rangers, presumably with Robbie Neilson seeking to hand them some match fitness ahead of this one.
Rangers To Win And Both Teams To Score
Still, even if Halkett and Souttar are back in action, it’s still hard to trust Hearts at the back right now. Both teams have scored in seven of their eight appearances since the start of April, as half of these featured at least four goals.
Similarly, Rangers haven’t exactly been great at shutting teams out of late, with just two clean sheets of their own in 15 matches, as both teams scored on 11 occasions. Even excluding their Europa League matches, seven of nine matches over this period saw both teams on the scoreboard.
After a 1-1 draw in the first meeting between these two sides this season, Rangers have won the past three head-to-heads as they plundered 10 goals. The Gers are without Alfredo Morelos still, but they have found other routes to goal in the absence of the Colombian and have the firepower to take advantage from Hearts’ leaky defence at present.
This competition has seen plenty of goal-mouth action in recent times too, with nine of the past 12 finals featuring a minimum of three goals, as the winners scored at least twice in all but one of these.
Given Rangers have scored at least twice in each of their past seven domestic matches when excluding clashes with Celtic, and at least three times in five of these, they should at least end the season with some silverware for their efforts.
RANGERS TO WIN AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
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