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Dec 12, 2021 at 12pm UK

Ginnelly (35'), Halkett (37'), Gordon (54'), Devlin (84'), Haring (85')
Ginnelly (80')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Morelos (9'), Aribo (13')
Tavernier (69'), Aribo (70'), McGregor (76'), Barisic (81'), Kent (86')

Preview: Hearts vs. Rangers - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Hearts vs. Rangers - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Scottish Premiership clash between Hearts and Rangers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

It will be a top-of-the-table clash in the SPL this Sunday as Hearts travel to Ibrox Stadium in order to play the current league leaders Rangers.

At the moment there are nine points between the two teams, with each club heading into this game on the back of a victory.

Match preview

Hearts have been one of the surprise packages of the season on their return to the Scottish Premiership, having only lost three times throughout the campaign so far.

This has allowed the Jam Tarts to climb up to third place in the table and their defensive capabilities have been a big part of that, with only Celtic and Rangers having conceded fewer goals than them this season.

That was on full display in their most recent outing, which resulted in a 1-0 victory against Livingston, with Liam Boyce managing to score the only goal of the game.

The victory got them back to winning ways following a defeat in another top-of-the-table match against Celtic and the squad will now be aiming to build some consistency.

It was the end of September and the start of October when Hearts last won consecutive games and if they want to close the gap on the two teams above them, then repeating that feat on Sunday would help.

Rangers have had no problem when it comes to securing results this season, having only lost once throughout the 2021-22 campaign with a mid-season change of manager seemingly having no negative impact.

Unlike their opponents, the Gers have not enjoyed a full week off since their last game, as the league leaders were in action on Thursday night against Lyon.

That fixture saw them share the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Scott Wright scoring for his team, but the point was enough to secure them a place in the next round of the Europa League.

However, when it comes to the SPL, the squad are enjoying a great run of form, having won their last five fixtures and they have not conceded in their previous two.

That will provide a lot of confidence and momentum, but the last time they faced the Jam Tarts it ended in a 1-1 draw with a 90th-minute equaliser from Craig Halkett ruling out John Lundstram's earlier strike.

Hearts Scottish Premiership form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Hearts form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Rangers Scottish Premiership form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Rangers form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Team News

Hearts will be missing Beni Baningime on Sunday because of a knee injury that he picked up in the recent match against St Mirren, with this having ruled him out last weekend.

Boyce was able to play in that game though, and he was a welcome return to the team, finding the back of the net to immediately get his season back on track

Rangers will once again be without Ryan Jack, who has dealt with a lot of injury problems throughout this campaign as he suffered a setback that saw him miss the midweek Europa League fixture.

The Gers also have a couple of long-term issues as Filip Helander (knee) is still unavailable as is Nnamdi Ofoborh (heart condition) although the club could be boosted by the return of Leon Balogun in the near future.

Hearts possible starting lineup:
Gordon; Souttar, Halkett, Kingsley; Cochrane, Devlin, McEneff, Smith, McKay, Woodburn, Boyce

Rangers possible starting lineup:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic; Aribo, Arfield, Kamara; Hagi, Morelos, Sakala

We say: Hearts 1-2 Rangers

There was nothing to separate these two teams when they last met and this fixture will likely be another closely-fought contest.

However, with Hearts struggling for consistent results, this could lead to Rangers continuing their brilliant season and extending their gap at the top of the league.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data

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