Alex Lowry scores 9/10 man of the match: Rangers player ratings v Hearts
Rangers ended their Scottish Premiership campaign in style with a comeback victory away at Hearts, preparing them for Wednesday’s final perfectly.
Peter Haring fired the home side in front on 20 minutes after Ellis Simms had bullied Jamie Sands off the ball to lay it off on the edge of the area for a low strike into the corner.
Cedric Itten, who really needed a goal, then drew Rangers level having got completely free from a corner to head in from eight yards with no pressure whatsoever before Alex Lowry surged into the box and cushioned an effort into the opposite corner to make it 2-1 by half-time.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst rang the changes before the game and brought even more academy graduates off the bench in the second half and it was Cole McKinnon who put the icing on the cake, expertly turning and firing into the bottom corner ten minutes from time.
Jon McLaughlin – 5
He didn’t have much to do all day and the goal that went beyond him was well out of reach so you can’t portion any blame on him there. Allan McGregor is still the undisputed number one at Ibrox and to be really honest, McLaughlin isn’t really an adequate backup if he faces more chances on goal.
Adam Devine – 7
At times he looked like James Tavernier, and others he looked very much the debutant he was. It went about as you would expect for his first appearance for the senior side with the home side keen to try and expose him at times but he stood up to the test reasonably well and ventured forward when he could.
Leon Balogun – 7
As the defence’s most experienced head, Balogun had to be at his best today and he was exactly that as he guided Sands, Devine and King through the game. Calvin Bassey’s form at centre-half has left his Nigerian counterpart on the bench but he showed van Bronckhorst what he’s capable of with a very complete display.
Jamie Sands – 3
As mentioned, the American youngster was bullied far too easily for the opening Jam Tarts’ goal and he looked to be the weak link in the defence. He’s much better in the midfield and van Bronckhorst will have taken note of that fact for when he comes to selecting him again in the future.
Leon King – 5
The teenager was forced to play out of position at left-back at Tynecastle and you could tell he wasn’t entirely comfortable in the role. He did alright when it mattered but his all-around game is far more suited to the centre of defence and the less he has to play at full-back, the better.
Steven Davis – 7
At the ripe old age of 37, Davis is still the epitome of cool in the midfield and he was the perfect partner for Lowry today. He sat in a much deeper role than he perhaps is used to so Lowry and Ramsey could bomb forward but he has never looked more settled and you were never worried about losing the ball when he had it in his possession.
Alex Lowry – 9 (Man of the Match)
The kid can do no wrong right now. As he has been whenever he’s started in the senior side, Lowry was the standout performer and the way he controlled the game from both central and wide areas was mesmerising. Surely he has to be a regular starter in the first team next season after a brilliant litmus test this campaign now he’s signed his new deal at Ibrox too.
Aaron Ramsey – 7
A very good first game back from injury ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League final from the Welshman who was a menace in breaking the lines between midfield and defence and his driving runs created a lot of problems as a result. It will be a tough decision for the boss as to whether the 31-year-old starts in Seville.
Scott Arfield – 3
It wasn’t much of a surprise to see the Canadian come off at half-time because you would have been forgiven for forgetting that he was on the pitch as he played out wide to little effect. Hearts might as well have forgotten about him too because he never looked likely to make a meaningful impact at Tynecastle.
Amad Diallo – 7
You can see how a couple of goals can boost a player’s confidence when you look at how Diallo played today. The little Ivorian was buzzing around at the top of the pitch and causing a constant nuisance to the Hearts defence as he nipped in to win the ball on multiple occasions before making lung-busting runs forward without the reward he deserved.
Cedric Itten – 6
Finally, he got his goal after being dropped through poor performances but he still hasn’t done enough to earn a start for the two huge finals coming up. It would have been harder to miss than score for his free header in the first half but other than that he was fairly ineffective.
Charlie McCann (on for Arfield 46′) – 6
Ross McCausland (on for Diallo 60′) – 6
Cole McKinnon (on for Ramsey 60′) – 7
Jack Simpson (on for Balogun 60′) – 5
Tony Weston (on for Davis 70′) – 5
In other Rangers news, the board have been left red-faced by what Eintracht Frankfurt have managed to do this week.