Football: Hearts hit by Durie hat-trick

Heart Of Midlothian 2 Robertson 17, Hamilton 88 Rangers 5 Durie 5, 34, 86, Negri pen 69, Albertz 78 Attendance:17,092
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The Independent Online
Gordon Durie scored a hat-trick as Rangers dealt a body blow to Hearts' premiership ambitions in front of a capacity crowd of 17,092 at Tynecastle.

Rangers led after only five minutes through Durie. Jorg Albertz swung in a corner from the right and Sergio Porrini had a free header. Durie, standing almost on the line, nodded it past stranded Gilles Rousset.

Hearts, who almost equalised a minute later when John Robertson turned quickly in the penalty area only to see his shot go just past the post, drew level in the 17th minute thanks to the same player. Colin Cameron's corner was misdirected by David Weir, but Robertson got on the end of it to hammer a stunning volley into the corner.

Neil Pointon had the crowd on their feet with a thumping 20-yard drive that flew just wide. But Rangers were dangerous on the counter and Marco Negri set up Durie, only for his cross to be scrambled away. It was Hearts' turn to attack and Stephane Adam put Neil McCann away, but his cross was poorly delivered and keeper Theo Snelders took it cleanly.

Rangers regained the lead in the 35th minute. Durie linked up with Albertz and delivered a stunning shot from just outside the area, which took a deflection off Hearts defender Paul Ritchie.

Rangers almost had a third a minute later when Durie sprung the offside trap but Albertz wasted the chance, his firmly struck shot being parried by Rousset. Durie then set up Stale Stensaas, but he sent his shot over the top from close range.

Hearts tried to step up the pressure at the beginning of the second half. Gary Locke delivered a dangerous cross from the right but Porrini was alert to the danger and headed clear as McCann waited for any mistake.

Gennaro Gattuso then got away but Rangers knocked in a good ball which Albertz latched on to. The German midfielder got away from Ritchie but his delivery from inside the six-yard area was poor, his shot going wide of the post. Then Marco Negri saw his effort take a deflection off Hearts central defender David Weir, but the ball went out of play.

Rangers went 3-1 ahead in the 68th minute when Negri scored from the penalty spot after Rousset had brought down Durie after Negri had flicked on a free-kick from Albertz.

That put Rangers in the driving seat but they were reduced to 10 men a minute later when Gattuso was sent off after picking up his second yellow card, this time for a lunging challenge on Pointon.

But they were cruising and went 4-1 ahead after 78 minutes when Albertz powered home a 20-yard shot after Ferguson had squared the ball to him. Durie completed his hat-trick with five minutes to go after a one-two with susbtitute Brian Laudrup.

Robertson got one back in the 88th minute, but that was no consolation for the humiliated hosts.