Stuart McCall praises players after Rangers beat Hearts

Rangers' Haris Vuckic celebrates with Kenny Miller (top) and Nicky Clark
Rangers' Haris Vuckic celebrates with Kenny Miller (top) and Nicky Clark

At the end of a pulsating ninety minutes when every player in Light Blue gave their all in a dramatic 2-1 win over Hearts, Rangers manager Stuart McCall spoke enthusiastically of his team’s performance.

“I’m pleased with so many parts of the game - the way we started, the way we prevented them playing, the quality of the two goals, the first-half performance, the tempo, good football, strong defending and team-work.”

The second 45 minutes – with Rangers reduced to ten men following Lee McCulloch’s ordering off right on the interval, was a different matter, almost like another game.

“The second half was about guts, desire, commitment, togetherness so - as you can imagine - I’m very proud.”

There was praise for the 40,521 crowd who provided a thundering backdrop to the game

“The players came off to applause - probably for the first time in a long time and it was merited. They are enjoying their football again. “It was nice to see the supporters get what they deserved today and nice to see them happy.

“Football is all about confidence, attitude and desire. There is still a long, long way to go but what it does is keep the momentum going.”

Stuart outlined just what the effect was of McCulloch’s red card.

“As a manager, a supporter or anyone connected with football you think you are going in at half time 2-0 ahead - and then the red card comes and we all know what happened at Tynecastle when we went down to ten men.

“We lost a grip of the game but for all their possession - and we knew they would have a lot of possession - we still managed to create a lot of chances in the second half and looked a bit of a threat on the counter-attack.”

The Ibrox boss was quick to underline the calibre of the opposition the ten men had overcome.

“We were not playing an ordinary side. We were playing against a Hearts team that is young, energetic and can move the ball about quickly. They had won nine on the bounce so it was a terrific, wholehearted display which merited the three points.”

Meanwhile for Nicky Law the difference in Sunday’s display was light years removed from that of two short months ago.

“Confidence has been building. We’re now getting back to where we should have been all season.

“The win at Easter Road was huge as was today’s. Hearts couldn’t live with us in the first-half. Performances and results have improved a lot in recent weeks.”

Law had no hesitation in pinpointing the arrival of Stuart McCall as the catalyst for the transformation in the team.

“The new manager told us to look forward – not back. Any new manager gives you a lift.

“I hope the relationship with the fans has been repaired. I’m sure they were pleased with the team’s performance today.”

The midfielder also revealed that Lee McCulloch had apologised to his team-mates.

“He was bitterly disappointed and apologised to everyone in the dressing-room.

“It is just one of those things and we will move on.”