Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Rangers 3.
Rangers striker Kenny Miller marked his return from first-team exile with two goals to help sweep his side to victory over Hearts.
A deflected first-half shot and a header after the break helped the visitors come from behind to lead.
Miller also created the third for Josh Windass, who lashed a low shot into the net.
Former Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty had put the home side in front with an excellent first-half free-kick.
Caretaker manager Graeme Murty chose to recall Miller and make him captain, after the player had been dropped by former manager Pedro Caixinha following last month’s Old Firm defeat.
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Murty was taking charge of his first game in charge in his second spell as the caretaker manager, while the Ibrox board begin the process of appointing a successor to Caixinha.
Even before a ball had been kicked, Murty illustrated a greater feel for what was needed at his club than Caixinha did in his entire seven months.
Caixinha talked, Murty acted. Reinstating the ostracised Miller was a move full of nous and, later on, goals. It was the winning of the game. If Caixinha was watching somewhere, he had cause to reflect on his deficiencies borne out of, in part, a self-harming stubbornness.
Before all of this unfolded, of course, there was joy for Hearts, if only for a little while. They were second best before losing the opening goal and second best for most of what went on afterwards, but in between there was a small pocket of the match when they looked good.
They went ahead with a Lafferty free-kick that was as sumptuous as you will see, an unstoppable thing that curled high beyond Wes Foderingham and into the top right-hand corner of his goal. The home fans in a terrific crowd of 32,852 went berserk.
Just a few minutes later, they almost had cause to turn delirious again when Ross Callachan went through one-on-one with Foderingham, but his weak shot was dealt with by the Rangers goalkeeper.
From that point on, Rangers took ownership of the game. Jon McLaughlin in the Hearts goal was lucky to avoid punishment when handling outside the box, but a sense of a gathering Rangers challenge had set in by then.
That threat produced a goal just before the break, young Harry Cochrane allowing the prodigal Miller away from him, the striker then finishing with the help of a deflection off the scrambling John Souttar.
Miller had not just levelled the match but dynamited his former manager in the process. Hearts had little or nothing from there on in. Their passing was all over the place, their width was non-existent, their presence in midfield was anonymous and their goal threat was absent.
They continue to be hampered by the absence of Arnaud Djoum and Don Cowie, midfielders of experience and strength, but a period of rebuilding is nigh at Tynecastle. Once they finish off their new stand, the club needs to get to work on erecting a new squad.
Rangers were hungry and dominant, and a second goal came just after the hour, James Tavernier’s precise cross dropping over Souttar and on to Miller’s head. Miller steered it expertly into the far corner and ran away to drink in the acclaim of the Rangers fans.
It’s fair to say that there was revisionism going on among them. A good number of Rangers people agreed with Miller’s expulsion from Caixinha’s set-up in the first place. They didn’t like what he’d produced on the field earlier in the season, which was fair enough. Miller had been poor before this performance.
There was also a whispering campaign about him and a supposed leaking of information about the club’s business that set some fans against him. Neither Caixinha, nor anybody else at Ibrox, helped him in that score.
Their comments – or lack of them – only made things worse, in fact. Murty dealt with that head on and brought him back from football Siberia. It was a superb piece of decision-making by the stand-in manager.
Rangers deserved a third goal and it duly came with Miller this time cast in the assistant’s role, playing a ball up the right-hand side of the pitch – Rafal Grzelak played left-back here and showed how versatile he is, in that he is equally poor no matter where you play him.
The defender was caught out as Windass dashed in and slammed his shot under McLaughlin. Fourteen thousand Rangers fans rejoiced anew and then serenaded Miller as he was withdrawn late on. Murty was looking for a response from his new captain and his team. Boy, how he got it.
Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Rangers 3.
Foul by Krystian Nowak (Heart of Midlothian).
Jamie Barjonas (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Krystian Nowak (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Rangers. Ryan Hardie replaces Josh Windass.
Foul by Declan John (Rangers).
Cole Stockton (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian).
Substitution, Rangers. Eduardo Herrera replaces Alfredo Morelos.
Substitution, Rangers. Jamie Barjonas replaces Kenny Miller.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jon McLaughlin.
Attempt saved. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt missed. Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Attempt saved. Daniel Candeias (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt missed. Josh Windass (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Josh Windass (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 1, Rangers 3. Josh Windass (Rangers) left footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kenny Miller.
Attempt missed. Daniel Candeias (Rangers) header from a difficult angle on the left is just a bit too high.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Krystian Nowak replaces Lewis Moore.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Cole Stockton replaces Harry Cochrane.
Foul by Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian).
Declan John (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Rafal Grzelak.
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 1, Rangers 2. Kenny Miller (Rangers) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by James Tavernier with a cross.
Ryan Jack (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian).
Attempt missed. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high following a set piece situation.
John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).
Attempt saved. Daniel Candeias (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt missed. Josh Windass (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ross McCrorie (Rangers).
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Christophe Berra.
Attempt blocked. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Manuel Milinkovic replaces Jamie Walker because of an injury.
Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian).