The prospect that "the gaffer", whose confrontational style of man-management has knocked over teacups in dressing rooms from Merseyside to the Bosphorus, might soon be coming to Tynecastle had a negative effect. Hearts froze, while Rangers continue to flourish under the heir to Souness's desk at Ibrox, but not his tantrums.
Dick Advocaat may be blunt but the idea of the Rangers coach having the kind of spats with players which typified Souness's period there (Ally McCoist and Terry Butcherwere among the most notable victims) and carried on at Liverpool, Galatasaray and Benfica - who fired the Scot three months ago - is unthinkable.
Advocaat prefers his industrial relations to be kept in-house. He does not like those who feel they are "stars" and above the team ethic, which was why he told Ruud Gullit to sling his hook when he was the Netherlands' coach before the 1994 World Cup, and has kept the sullen Italian Marco Negri out of the picture for a year.
It would be hard to envisage Pierre van Hooijdonk and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink pulling their stunts on their bull-necked countryman, and for every crying Dutchman there are happily others prepared to sing from Advocaat's group hymn sheet rather than going solo. Last season it was Giovanni van Bronckhorst, whose industry surpassed his wonderful playmaking skills. Now, it is the turn of Michael Mols to prove Total Footballers are not totally out of control.
It was Mols' stunning goal in first-half injury-time which killed off Hearts and gave Rangers the two-goal cushion with which to toy with their opponents. Already, the Dutch international looks worth every penny of the pounds 4m Advocaat paid for him during the summer, yet he appears an unlikely candidate to have ego on his face. "It's honestly not important if I score," Mols said, "only that the team wins. My main goal at Rangers was simply to get in the squad."
There is little chance of omission. Few defenders in Scotland will forget Mols' name this season. Grant Murray, his marker, was left swiping at fresh air so often by Mols' impeccable balance and swift turns that the referee John Rowbotham eventually had to book the Hearts youngster.
The ease with which Mols hurdled Murray in the 45th minute before drilling a fierce angled shot beyond Gilles Rousset was indelible, but just as valuable was the lay-off which allowed Claudio Reyna to hit the opener and his part in helping Jorg Albertz make it 3-0.
"I had made my name in Holland," Mols said, "but no one knows me in Scotland. If I succeed here it will mean more. The main reason I signed for Rangers was that challenge, but also to work under Dick Advocaat, and win championships and play in Europe. But everyone at the club has been so helpful, it feels like home now."
Parma, who visit Ibrox on Wednesday for a crucial Champions' League qualifying tie, will certainly have noted Mols' name, if not that of Reyna, whose header, which sealed the rout, was his third goal in two games.
Hearts have no European involvement this season, due to their torrid time last season, and they look destined to be spectators in this Scottish Premier League campaign. With their international defender Paul Ritchie poised to move to Coventry City, this abject surrender simply strengthened the belief of the consortium linked with Souness that a takeover is needed to provide the funds Hearts need if they want to challenge the Old Firm.
Goals: Reyna (14) 1-0; Mols (45) 2-0; Albertz (67) 3-0; Reyna (73) 4- 0.
Hearts (4-4-2): Rousset; Pressley, Murray, James, Naysmith; Flogel, Severin (Makel, 83), Cameron, Fulton (Juanjo, 61); Jackson (Locke, 83), Adam. Substitutes not used: McKenzie (gk), Ritchie.
Rangers (4-3-3): Klos; Porrini, Moore (Adamczuk, h-t), Amoruso, Vidmar; Reyna (I Ferguson, 78), B Ferguson, Albertz; Johansson (Amato, 76), Mols, Wallace. Substitutes not used: Niemi (gk), Nicholson.
Referee: J Rowbotham.
Man of the match: Mols.
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