Hearts vs Rangers predictions, betting tips and match preview for the first round of Scottish Premiership fixtures following the split. The home side will be looking for a reaction after losing 2-1 at home to bitter rivals Hibernian last time out.
Rangers have beaten Hearts in each of their last five encounters and will be looking to make it six on the spin here.
A win for the visitors would delay Celtic’s inevitable title triumph by a week – as if further motivation were required.
Hearts, meanwhile, will have aspirations of passing Hibs in the table after being leapfrogged following the Edinburgh derby.
These two clubs met at Ibrox earlier this month, with Rangers running out resounding winners courtesy of goals from Scott Arfield, Jermaine Defoe and Connor Goldson. Generally speaking, it’s been a disappointing season from a Rangers perspective with the odd decent run quickly punctuated by an avoidable defeat. As far as consistency goes, the only thing the Light Blues have managed to do regularly since August is beat Hearts – which they’ve done all three times so far.
There’s an element of pressure from the stands on Craig Levein with the situation undoubtedly worsening in the wake of Hearts’ defeat to Hibs, but they do at least have a Scottish FA Cup final to focus on.
The league is probably no longer a priority given that qualifying for Europe is out of the question, and that could play in to Rangers’ hands. I can see the visitors winning and three or more goals being scored during the match – which has happened in each of the last four occasions these two have met. Can it become five?
I nearly fell off my chair when looking at the anytime goalscorer market, and those who follow Scottish football will quickly understand why! Ex-Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield bagged a hat-trick against Motherwell last time out with that treble coming after the 3-0 win over Hearts in which he also scored.
The Canadian international is almost certain to start just behind Jermaine Defoe with Alfredo Morelos still suspended, so you’d surely be tempted by anything around the 2/1 mark in terms of Arfield being an anytime goalscorer. He’s popped up fairly frequently throughout the campaign and is in currently in the form of his life with four goals in his last two.
Why, then, are bet365 offering odds of 4/1 on the Rangers number 37 popping up here? I can’t understand it but I won’t spend too much time trying to – it could be the diamond of the weekend!
If previous encounters are a decent barometer then Hearts might as well not turn up for this one. Of course, you can never really discount a team in football – particularly not against a decidedly unpredictable Rangers team – but you can see why Jambos fans might be fearing the worst.
Two of the past three games between these two have effectively been settled after 30 mins so Hearts will be wary about conceding an early goal and having to chase the game thereafter.
With that said, I’m backing the Gers to make it three wins on the spin in the Scottish Premiership and delay the celebrations in the East End of Glasgow by a few days at least. You can get 8/1 on Rangers winning this 2-1, which ticks all the boxes as far as form is concerned.
Read More: See the latest football predictions for our weekend matches.