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Wednesday, February 26
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May 2, 2015 at 12.15pm UK
Hearts
2-2
RangersRangers
Zeefuik (82', 90')
FT(HT: 0-2)
McGregor (32'), Miller (40')
/esi/1339/6_G_1_37512/index.html?art_id=220247&game_id=37512&sport_id=1&ESI

Preview: Hearts vs. Rangers

:Headline: Preview: Hearts vs. Rangers:
Sports Mole previews the Scottish Championship match between already-crowned champions Hearts and playoff-bound Rangers at Tynecastle.
By , Reporter | 4y

Rangers will be hoping that they can join their opponents in the Scottish Premiership next season when they face champions Hearts in their last outing of the Scottish Championship this weekend.

The home side are already promoted back to the top flight, while the visitors will be hoping that a win boosts their chances of a third successive promotion.



Hearts

Hearts have been assured of their return to Scotland's top flight for a few weeks now, but the Edinburgh side have been beaten just once at Tynecastle this season, so they will be hoping not to slip up again on the final day of the season.

This weekend's hosts have dominated the division this campaign, currently sitting 23 points clear of nearest rivals Hibernian ahead of the final round of fixtures.

Robbie Neilson's side have lost two of their last five outings though, including on their trip to Ibrox just a few weeks ago, but they have 12 wins in their last 14 outings.

Callum Patterson has continued his strong form for the side in recent weeks, scoring twice in his last four outings to take his total for the season to seven, while Soufian El Hassnaoui has also been among the goals recently.

The team have by far the strongest defence and attack in the division, conceding just 24 goals in 35 matches, while scoring 94 times and keeping 16 clean sheets, earning Neilson a nomination for the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year Award.

Hearts are already guaranteed to finish with the highest ever points total for a club in the second tier, beating city rivals Hibs' previous best set in 1999, but a victory this weekend would give them 93, four more than the old record.

Recent form: WLWLWW



Rangers

Although they know they will be playing in the playoffs for a place in the Premiership, Rangers will still be pushing for victory, as second place is still up for grabs.

Finishing ahead of Hibernian in the table would move them one step closer to a return to the top flight, as second place will take on the winner of a playoff between third and fourth.

Having worked their way back up from the fourth tier following their financial problems back in 2012 with back-to-back promotions in the last two seasons, the Gers are looking to make it three in a row, and end a three-season absence from the top flight.

Stuart McCall's side have been in mixed form in recent weeks, securing two draws, two wins and a loss in their last six outings, including a 2-2 draw with Falkirk at Ibrox last weekend.

Rangers have been third best in attack and defence this season, with both Edinburgh clubs getting the better of them at both ends of the pitch, as the visitors have let in 37 goals, 13 more than this weekend's opponents, while scoring 27 times fewer.

Rangers have been almost as strong away from home as they have been at Ibrox this season, winning more than half of their 17 away fixtures, while losing just four times.

Recent form: WLWDWD



Team News

McCall has revealed that he has an almost entirely fit squad for his side's trip to Hearts, with Jon Daly and Richard Foster both having returned to training this week.

Remie Streete and Shane Ferguson both featured in a youth match earlier this week as they push for a return, but they are both short on match fitness, so are expected to miss out this weekend.

However, Ian Black returns after missing the visit of Falkirk through suspension, while Marius Zaliukas is fit despite coming off at half time last time out.

Hearts have not reported any fresh injuries following their win over Cowdenbeath last time out, so the champions should have the option to name an unchanged side.

Hearts possible starting lineup:
Hamilton, McGhee, Ozturk, McKay, McHattie, Walker, El Hassnaoui, Gomis, Sow, Paterson, Nicholson

Rangers possible starting lineup:
Bell, McGregor, McCulloch, Zaliukas, Wallace, Daly, Murdoch, Law, Vuckic, Clark, Miller



Head To Head

This will be the two sides' second meeting in less than a month, with Rangers having secured a 2-1 win at Ibrox in the first week of April, despite finishing the match with 10 men.

Hearts won the first two meetings between these two sides though, including a 2-0 victory in their last meeting at Tynecastle back in November.

However, Rangers have historically been the stronger side, winning 50 of the 75 previous matches between the two clubs, while Hearts have won just 13, and 12 have finished level.

This is typically a fixture that yields red cards, with eight players being sent off when these two sides have met since the 2008-09 campaign.


We say: Hearts 2-1 Rangers

Rangers looked below par last weekend, while Hearts will surely be looking to end the season on a high note ahead of promotion to the top flight. The hosts will also be keen to make amends for defeat to Rangers just a few weeks back, leaving them with three wins in a season over a side that have typically frustrated them. Hearts have been almost untouchable at home, and should have enough to edge it.


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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27261064174779
2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
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8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2766153248-1624
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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