Hearts 4-1 Rangers: Jamie Walker double secures Tynecastle win
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 01/02/17 10:11pm
Jamie Walker scored twice as Hearts thrashed Rangers 4-1 at Tynecastle on Wednesday night.
The result was the home side's biggest victory over the Gers in 21 years as the Ibrox team were blown away following a dismal second-half display.
Not since Allan Johnstone grabbed a Govan hat-trick back in 1996 had Hearts beaten Rangers by three goals, but another shambolic defensive display from Mark Warburton's team saw the Edinburgh side ease to three points.
Krystian Nowak's fourth minute opener was cancelled out by Emerson Hyndman's second goal in as many games but Walker's second-half double either side of Don Cowie's tap-in sealed a much-needed win for under pressure boss Ian Cathro.
Rangers cling on to second place in the Scottish Premiership but Warburton will face fresh questions after a defensive collapse, with his side going behind early on.
Andraz Struna hung a high cross into the box which should have been Rob Kiernan's ball but he stood watching as Nowak looped his header into the top corner.
Hearts flew at Rangers at every opportunity, with the relentless Esmael Goncalves almost robbing Wes Foderingham as the keeper dallied on the ball, while Malaury Martin twice went close with free-kicks.
Rangers finally created a chance after 15 minutes as Jack Hamilton turned away Martyn Waghorn's low strike as Hearts failed to build on that positive start and allowed the visitors to catch a breath.
Hamilton bailed out Nowak after his horror back-pass was intercepted by Waghorn while Barrie McKay snapped a thunderous strike a fraction wide before Rangers did equalise after 36 minutes.
James Tavernier put a corner right on top of Hamilton and the keeper could only punch it down to the arriving Hyndman, with the American lashing into the top corner.
However, Rangers switched off again within four minutes of the re-start, with Andy Halliday slow to turn after collecting Foderingham's throw and by the time he looked up, Walker had robbed possession and rifled a stunning drive low past the keeper.
Minutes later Martin's quick free-kick sent Bjorn Johnsen baring down on Clint Hill before he sent the ball across goal for Cowie to tuck home.
Hearts made it 4-1 after 64 minutes when Walker slotted into an empty net after Foderingham came for the winger's cross, only to spill it back at his feet.
Substitute Harry Forrester thought he had pulled one back with 18 minutes left but there was no consolation as his close-range effort was ruled out for offside, with only two stunning Foderingham stops preventing Hearts from extending their lead through Walker and Lennard Sowah.