Laudrup shatters Hearts

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Hearts 1

Colquhoun 76

Rangers 5

Laudrup 37, 49, Durie 66, 79, 85

Half-time: 0-1 Attendance: 37,730

Few of us believed Hearts could secure their third victory of the season over Rangers in the Scottish Cup final here yesterday - but even fewer could have envisaged the brutal scoreline which unfolded.

As it is, Rangers continue to dominate Scotland as Manchester United do England but, while both sides collected domestic doubles on Cup final day, that can be one of only two parallels drawn between this and the dour encounter at Wembley last week. Six goals, a wonderful display from Brian Laudrup and a tragic injury to Gary Locke made for eventful viewing. But the act which will probably be remembered above all others was, as in England, produced by a Frenchman.

The Hearts goalkeeper, Gilles Rousset, made a disastrous blunder which gifted Rangers their second goal, sank his team-mates' heads and finished the game as a competitive spectacle. If his error is the remaining image when all others have faded it will be harsh justice on Laudrup, who stole the limelight from a quiet Paul Gascoigne with delightful trickery and admirable generosity. Twice he had opportunities to complete his hat-trick but twice he fed Gordon Durie instead, and it was the Scot who claimed the match ball for his three goals.

Poor Hearts. It is one thing to be played off the park in Scottish football's showcase, but luck was also absent for them. Only four minutes had passed before the 21-year-old Locke was writhing and clutching his right knee after an Ian Ferguson challenge. The Hearts captain continued for four more minutes but pain eventually overcame his pride and he left the field on a stretcher.

The match itself took a good 20 minutes to warm up but warning signs were glaring at Hearts as Laudrup fed David Robertson's overlapping runs down the flank vacated by Locke. Hearts quickened the pace, though, and left Gascoigne trailing - for long spells he simply watched the game fly by. For all their endeavours, however, the closest Hearts came to breaching Rangers' rearguard was a long-ranger from Alan Lawrence which Andy Goram tipped over.

Laudrup finally opened the scoring with eight minutes of the half remaining, when he fed Durie on halfway and continued his run down the inside-right channel. He collected the return, allowing it to bounce once before striking it as it dropped for a second time, finishing superbly into Rousset's bottom right corner. It could have been more before half-time if Paul Ritchie had not hacked down Gascoigne on the edge of the area, for which the defender was lucky to escape a red card.

Four minutes after the break, Rangers doubled their lead in the most bizarre of circumstances. Laudrup swung over a cross from the right which Rousset seemed about to collect comfortably. Unfortunately for Hearts, it slipped through his arms and then his legs and the match was effectively over. It became a Rangers exhibition, with Stuart McCall at the centre of everything, providing the base which Laudrup's flair sprang from.

The Dane set up Durie for his first with 24 minutes remaining as the striker volleyed home with the outside of his right boot. John Colquhoun scored a fine long-range consolation for 0 minutes later with a low right-foot drive past Goram, but Rangers were quick to respond. With 10 minutes remaining Laudrup could have had an opportunity to score but chose to square to Durie for the fourth and then, six minutes later, he repeated the act, allowing Durie's head to secure Rangers' fifth, his third and, most crucially, the double.

Heart of Midlothian: Rousset; Locke (Lawrence, 8), Ritchie, McManus, McPherson, Bruno (J Robertson, 58), Johnston, Mackay, Colquhoun, Fulton, Pointon. Sub not used: Hogarth.

Rangers: Goram; Cleland, D Robertson, Gough, McLaren, Brown, Durie, Gascoigne, Ferguson (Durrant, 88), McCall, Laudrup. Subs not used: Petric, Andersen.

Referee: H Dallas (Motherwell).

Comments