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Hearts have made a storming return to the Premiership so far after a year’s absence, winning five of their eight games as they remain the sole side undefeated.
They also hold the joint-best defensive record, while only Celtic have managed to register more goals to date as striker Liam Boyce is the league’s joint-top scorer with six strikes to his name.
This should however prove their sternest test yet, with Rangers winning 22 of 23 unbeaten league games at Ibrox since the start of last season, while they’ve led at both half time and full time on 16 occasions.
However, although the Gers once again sit top of the pile, they haven’t been quite so convincing in the current campaign when compared to last term’s heroics.
They’ve been involved in several tight tussles of late as none of their past five outings have seen them win by more than a single strike, as they’re currently grinding out results rather than sauntering to victories.
Under 2.5 Goals
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has a dilemma on his hands as defender John Souttar is back in contention, though Taylor Moore has deputized admirably in his absence.
In the other dugout, Steven Gerrard remains without Filip Helander, but fortunately Leon Balogun is set to feature alongside Connor Goldson after an injury scare away with Nigeria.
That’s just as well given stand-in full-back Calvin Bassey has looked far from assured in the central role during recent performances.
Gerrard also remains without Ryan Kent in attack and will also likely be missing Kemar Roofe as well. The latter has been influential with six goals in nine appearances across all competition this season, though he’s a major doubt having featured for Jamaica away to Honduras in the early hours of Thursday morning. With veteran bit-part player Jermain Defoe unavailable after a positive covid test, Alfredo Morelos, Fashion Sakala and Ianis Hagi will have to carry the attacking threat for the hosts.
Hearts have kept four clean sheets from their past five games and with Rangers operating on diminished firepower, this looks set to be a relatively low-scoring affair. Across all competitions, seven of Ranger’s past nine matches have featured fewer than three goals, while none of them exceeded three strikes, while five of their last six at Ibrox alone have also seen a maximum of two goals.
UNDER 2.5 GOALS
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