Gascoigne the mature

Hearts 0 Rangers 2 (McCoist 64 pen, Gascoigne 67) Attendan ce: 15,105
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The Independent Online
AT sporting venues, when lusty choruses of "Bruno, Bruno" ring out before the action starts a grotesque mismatch is usually in prospect. Yesterday proved no different, in the end at least, except that Bruno was Pasquale of Hearts and it was he who was on the wrong end of a beating.

An Ally McCoist penalty and a fine Paul Gascoigne goal allowed Rangers to finish as obvious superiors, although Hearts, disciplined in defence and vigorous in midfield, troubled the champions for spells. That Rangers survived with such ultimate success was largely thanks to Gascoigne who in a mature performance bore almost the entire creative responsibility for his side.

Lurking deep, Gascoigne pierced Hearts with two early passes to send through Charlie Miller. But, playing without a ball-winner, Rangers were penetrable and Andy Goram found himself threatened - Allan Johnston and John Colquhoun both stretching him.

Gary Locke followed with a shot that skimmed and forced an awkward save. Yet Hearts, like so many Rangers victims this season, appeared ill-at- ease when they found themselves on top of the champions. Growing careless, they paid dearly for a supreme moment of folly. Brian Laudrup dragged the ball back from the byline, Steve Fulton hacked him and McCoist dispatched the penalty. With it the striker reached 250 League goals.

Gascoigne, whose position and willingness to make himself available had held Rangers' centre together during their dark spell, then stepped into the limelight. Gordon Durie laid the ball down, the Englishman controlled and bustling two defenders aside beat Gilles Rousset low to his right.

Gascoigne, generous when ahead, took an outlandish bow before the end when he hit another telling pass. Bruno, hands on hips, seemed almost punch drunk.

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