Football Round-up; Red cards for the four of Hearts

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Rangers are accustomed to setting records at Ibrox but it is rare for their opponents to do so. None the less, yesterday Hearts had the statisticians aflutter when they had four players sent off in a somewhat temperamental second-half display, three of them departing in an eight- minute spell of red-card mayhem. Only Hereford (1992) and Stranraer (1994) can match Hearts' performance.

The home side, easing their way back into Premier action after Champions League embarrassment in Zurich, led at half-time through Gordon Durie's goal. Three minutes after the restart, Pasquale Bruno tripped Durie, referee Jerry Evans booked him for a second time. Red Card number one.

Paul Gascoigne scored Rangers' second two minutes later but on the hour, David Weirgot involved with Durie and was sent off for violent conduct. Three minutes later, a frustrated Neil Pointon kicked a post, shouted at linesman Graeme Allison, was booked for a second time and joined his colleagues in the palatial Ibrox baths.

Another Allison decision four minutes later infuriated Paul Ritchie whose colourful language carried all too well. Then there were seven.

"The later stages of the game were farcical," the Rangers manager Walter Smith admitted. "We did not find it difficult playing against seven men but it was certainly unusual." The Hearts Four will miss the Coca-Cola cup visit from Celtic

In England, Bolton and Barnsley swapped places at the top of the First Division. At Oakwell, Barnsley, defending the League's sole remaining 100 per cent record against managerless Queen's Park Rangers, were chasing the game after only six minutes. A dashing right-wing run by the coveted Trevor Sinclair, a knock-down from his accurate cross by Daniele Dichio and Simon Barker swept the ball in from six yards. A goal on his debut by Mark Perry, heading in Sinclair's corner four minutes before the break, made it 2-0 and Dichio added the third five minutes after the restart. Rangers, who go fifth, seem in good health for their next manager.

Beaten 5-2 at Southend last weekend, Bolton scored six against Grimsby in midweek and two more without reply against Portsmouth at Burnden Park as they attempt to bounce back to the Premiership.

A far-post header by Nathan Blake four minutes into the second half set up the win, sealed four minutes from time by Chris Fairclough. Southend held third-placed Norwich to a goalless draw; the First Division's other managerless side, Manchester City, were outplayed by Crystal Palace in a 3-1 defeat.

A final word of caution to Bolton, and Brentford and Fulham who continue to top divisions Two and Three. At roughly this stage last season Millwall were second in the First Division and Derby were 21st. Derby won promotion and Millwall are now challenging from promotion from a division lower. It is, as Hearts will agree, a rum do.

Comments