Football: Hateley inspires spirited revival

Click to follow
Rangers. . . . . . . .2

Heart of Midlothian. .1

THE heartfelt desire of Rangers to complete their first domestic treble in 15 years moved one step closer to fulfilment as they overcame the loss of the opening goal at Celtic Park yesterday to secure a Scottish Cup final date against Aberdeen on 29 May.

Walter Smith's side had looked out of sorts for most of a dreary first half, and out of the Cup after Allan Preston headed Hearts in front after 58 minutes.

But, spurred on by Mark Hateley, Rangers raised their game, equalising through Dave McPherson before Ally McCoist maintained his run of scoring in every round of the competition with his 52nd this season.

The Hearts defender Allan McLaren was outstanding and almost scored on the half-hour. But it was his goalkeeper, Nicky Walker, with a save from McCoist after 39 minutes, who gave his side slender encouragement.

Hearts broke forward, releasing John Robertson on the right to centre for Preston to head emphatically past Andy Goram - the first goal conceded by Rangers in the tournament.

Hearts, too, had enjoyed such a record but were immediately threatened by a four-man move which ended with McCoist shooting just wide, before McPherson silenced his critics. Trevor Steven supplied the corner, and with McCoist and McPherson both attempting to make headway in the ensuing scramble, the latter lashed the ball home to reawaken the massive Rangers following.

Six minutes later Rangers put the result beyond doubt with a classic move. John Brown's volleyed clearance from defence bounced on the 18-yard line and McCoist, who injured himself in the process, met Walker who rushed out toward him, and poked the ball over the keeper's head into an empty net.

Rangers: A Goram; S McCall, J Robertson, C Gough, D McPherson, J Brown, T Steven, I Ferguson, A McCoist, M Hateley, D Hagen. Subs not used: N Murray, I Durrant. Manager: W Smith.

Heart of Midlothian: J Walker; A McLaren, T McKinlay, C Levein, G Mackay, P Van De Ven, J Robertson, D Ferguson, I Baird, J Millar, A Preston. Subs not used: I Ferguson, G Snodin. Manager: J Jordan.

Referee: D Hope (Erskine).

Goals: Preston (0-1, 58 min); McPherson (1-1, 70 min); McCoist (2-1, 75 min).