From a strong performance, Rangers had a few players who impressed. The second half especially saw many step up their level and stake a claim for man of the match. Surprisingly, there wasn’t one announced in the stadium. For me, there were three clear candidates.
Jamie Murphy set up a goal, had a huge hand in the other, and gave Hearts real issues with his attacking threat. His cross for Candeias was perfect, and on his weaker foot. He stretched the defence by staying wide, not allowing the opposing wing-back to get forward easily. One run in the second half was magical, beating four players before seeing a shot blocked from close range. There was a reverse pass early in the game which showed his quality on the ball as well. Since signing, Murphy has been Rangers best player, and he was a huge part of the improved performance in this game.
Graham Dorrans had some good performances for Rangers before his injury, but none of them were in home matches. That led to many questioning his contribution, which is understandable. On Sunday, he played in a deep-lying playmaker role and controlled the tempo of the game. Early on, he was winning tackles and loose balls which drove others to play with more energy. He was unlucky not to assist with a good cross for Martin, and a ball over the top for Windass which was almost perfect. Always showing for the ball and looking to play on the front foot, it was an impressive showing from the midfielder.
Man of the match in my opinion though was Daniel Candeias. He drove the team on in the second half with a very determined display. He assisted the first goal with composure in the box, and scored a great header for the second. In recent matches, the entire team have had their heart for a fight questioned. Candeias showed he was no pushover, giving as good as he got from Berra and winning that battle overall. Some of his crossing and passing was excellent, keeping the Hearts defence on their toes.
It’s often said that if you can win your personal battle, you’re doing well. In the second half, Hearts made two substitutions and changed shape to try and deal with how much Candeias was hurting them, and it didn’t work. It was the very definition of a battle well won.
Do you agree that Candeias was man of the match? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your opinion!