Rangers and Hearts played out a competitive one all draw in the opening match of the Scottish Premier League. David Obua gave Hearts the lead early in the first half, while Rangers equalised through Steven Naismith.
Rangers controlled the early stages, regularly pressurising the Hearts’ defence. Ally McCoist’s men were only able to force one half chance, however, when a Nikica Jelavic overhead from a Steven Whittaker cross drifted wide.
Hearts fought back and took the lead in the 16th minute. Steven Whittaker lost David Obua at a corner and the Hearts midfielder powered a header home.
Rangers continued to press but Hearts created the best chances. Hearts almost doubled their lead in the 25th minute, when John Sutton headed the ball on and David Templeton’s shot was saved under pressure from two Rangers defenders.
The Edinburgh club then forced a gilt-edged opportunity in the 34th minute. Obua found himself one-on-one with Alan McGregor but could only produce a poor, wayward shot.
Hearts were almost made to pay for the prolificacy in front of goal just before half-time, but desperate defending saved Jim Jeffries’ men. Jelavic chested the ball down for Steven Naismith, but Ian Black made a great tackle to deny the Rangers man. His timely challenge allowed Hearts to reach the interval with a deserved one nil lead.
It had been a lethargic first half performance from McCoist’s charges, but Rangers were much improved after the break. The Gers created a host of chances in the first 15 minutes of the second period and thoroughly deserved their equaliser.
Their first clear cut chance came in the 49th minute, when a scramble saw the ball drop to Stephen Davis at the edge of the Hearts box. The Rangers midfielder hit a powerful shot but Marian Kello made a good save.
Naismith then missed two gilt-edged chances in the space of 60 seconds. A step over from Jelavic let the ball roll to Naismith, who blazed the ball over the bar when he only had the keeper to beat. The Rangers man then headed over seconds later.
Naismith finally found the net in the 57th minute to level the scores. A Sasa papac cross found an unmarked Naismith six yards out and the Rangers man headed home.
Rangers should have seized the momentum, but the Gers could not create any more clear opportunities in the remaining half an hour.
Hearts created a half chance in the 77th minute, when the ball dropped to Obua at the edge of the Rangers box. Obua’s powerful shot was well saved by Alan McGregor, however.
Rangers team: McGregor; Whittaker, Bougherra, Broadfoot, Papac; Davis, Edu, McCulloch, Ortiz; Naismith; Jelavic. Subs: Alexander, Healy, Fleck, Wallace, Wylde, Hemmings, Bendiksen.
Hearts team: Kello; McGowan, Zaliukas, Webster, Grainger; Black, Jonsson; Templeton, Obua, Taouil; Sutton. Subs: Balogh, Elliot, Stevenson, Novikovas, Smith, Robinson, Mrowiec.