In comments reported by the Edinburgh Evening News, Craig Levein has suggested that Rangers were no better than Hearts after Steven Gerrard's side's 3-1 win at Ibrox on Sunday, while he praised Allan McGregor's contribution.
With Hearts unbeaten in the league up until the weekend, and Rangers going into the contest having lost their previous top flight game, it appeared that it was going to be a very difficult afternoon for the Gers, especially after the high of their midweek win over Rapid Vienna.
But Gerrard's men seemed to wrap up the three points in just over half an hour, with Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos and Scott Arfield making the score 3-0 heading into the break.
Hearts fought back in the second-half, with Jimmy Dunne scoring when the league leaders were already down to 10 men. But Rangers saw the game out to maintain their flawless league record at Ibrox under Gerrard and move to within five points of top spot.
Nevertheless, Levein - who admitted that Hearts were made to pay for mistakes - was not convinced that the scoreline reflected the flow of the game.
“I don’t think Rangers were better than us," he said, as reported by the Edinburgh Evening News. "I think we had as good chances as I’ve ever had coming to Ibrox. Allan McGregor has made a couple of fantastic saves. I think the stats will say not much in possession or chances, and we had 40 minutes with ten men. I think shots on target were six to four. We shot ourselves in the foot today and gave Rangers the impetus they needed early in the match.
“Once we scored and got it back to 3-1, you saw how nervous Rangers were. They had the extra man and just punted long because they got nervous. I just wish we had 11 men on the field for those last 20 minutes or so.”
Rangers may have opened the door in the second-half, but it was an incredibly ruthless start from Gerrard's men. And if they can enjoy those kind of spells in every game they play this season, it is unlikely that many teams will be able to cope with them.
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