TALK about a declaration of intent from Rangers.

The Ibrox club highlighted they have no intention of surrendering top spot in the cinch Premiership any time soon with a demolition of third-placed Hearts in Govan this afternoon.

This match against one of the form teams in the country was viewed as a serious test of their title credentials before kick-off.

But Philippe Clement’s men blew away Steven Naismith’s charges thanks to first half goals from Mohamed Diomande, Oscar Cortes and Cyriel Dessers and second half Dessers and Fabio Silva strikes.

Defending champions Celtic can reduce their city rivals’ lead to two points again if – and it is a big if given how poorly they have been performing of late – they can overcome Motherwell at Fir Park tomorrow afternoon.

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However, this was a hugely impressive showing from James Tavernier and his team mates and suggested that, as their fans in the 50,354-strong crowd chanted, they shall not be moved.

Here are five talking points from the one-sided encounter.


Having spent two years in the shadow of their city rivals in the league, it was inevitable that questions would be asked of how Rangers would cope with the pressure of being table toppers.

But they answered them this afternoon with one of the best displays they have produced under Clement.

They could have prevailed by a more emphatic scoreline had it not been for Zander Clark. The Hearts and Scotland goalkeeper produced outstanding saves to deny Tavernier, Ridvan Yilmaz, Dessers and Silva.

Lawrence Shankland and his team mates certainly had long spells with the ball and applied pressure in their opponents’ final third at times. However, Jack Butland did not, in stark contrast to his opposite number Clark, have very much work to do.

The Tynecastle club’s defenders will not enjoy watching back a replay of this outing. They could and should have done far better at the first four goals. Particularly the second when Kye Rowles gave the ball away needlessly to Dujon Sterling in the middle of the park.

That said, no team will enjoy a trip to Govan between now and the end of the season. The Rangers supporters turned out in force today and created an intimidating atmosphere which Hearts failed to perform in.


January signing Diomande opened his account for Rangers when he broke the deadlock in the first half of the Premiership game against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park last Sunday.

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The former Nordsjaelland midfielder showed that was no freak occurrence today when he netted a goal that was a virtual carbon copy of his strike six days earlier after little over a minute.

He controlled a pass from his fellow new boy Cortes on the edge of the Heats penalty box, took a touch and then fired a low left foot shot beyond the outstretched Clark and into the bottom left corner.

The Ivorian had not played regularly in Denmark since the end of November when he moved to Scotland and Clement cautioned that it would take him time to get his match fitness and sharpness up to the required levels.

But the 22-year-old, who cost a cool £4.5m, has made an immediate impression and looks, even at this early stage to be an excellent acquisition.

With Cortes, the Colombian winger who arrived on loan from Lens last month, getting off the mark, and Silva, who joined from Wolves in the window, getting in on the act it is fair to say that Rangers are far stronger now than they were in the first half of the season.


With Todd Cantwell sidelined for three to four weeks with a hamstring injury and Diomande retained in a deep-lying central midfield role alongside John Lundstram, Tom Lawrence slotted in to the playmaker berth just off Dessers.

The loss of Cantwell is a blow to the new league leaders. The Englishman has been one of their most consistent performers since play resumed after the winter break and has scored important goals in their wins over Hibernian, Livingston and Aberdeen.

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Clement will be hoping the former Norwich man can make a speedy recovery and will be available for the Europa League last 16 games against Benfica next month.

But No 10 is the preferred position of Welsh internationalist Lawrence and he had no difficulties deputising for his club mate. He probed for an opening all afternoon, pinched possession from under the visitors’ noses on numerous occasions and supplied Cortes before the second.

He received a rousing ovation when he was replaced by Silva early in the second half. If he can stay fit, then Cantwell will not be missed while he is out.


The big Nigerian striker, who took his tally for the 2023/24 campaign to 16 with his brace today, continues to confound his critics.

Filip Sebo would have buried his second. But his first was delightful. He got on the end of an inch-perfect diagonal delivery from John Souttar and dinked a volley beyond Clark. He was a popular winner of the Man of the Match award.

The £4.5m summer signing has gone from being a figure of fun to a darling of the support. With Silva coming on and netting a peach and Kemar Roofe also making his return from injury, Clement has an abundance of firepower up front now.


This heavy loss brought an end to an eight game winning run and a 12 game spell without a defeat for Hearts. But they could have no complaints about the final outcome. They were very much second best this afternoon.

The Gorgie outfit will fancy their chances of getting back to winning ways when they play Hibernian at home in the Edinburgh derby on Wednesday night and of finishing third in the top flight once again this term.

Still, this was their fourth defeat to Rangers and highlighted the huge gulf in quality that exists between them and the Glasgow giants.