Rangers moved to within 90 minutes of their first trophy under new manager Philippe Clement and their first League Cup victory in 12 years at Hampden this afternoon with a convincing triumph over Hearts in the semi-final of the Viaplay-sponsored competition.

The Tynecastle club did well to frustrate their Ibrox rivals during the opening 45 minutes and went in level at half-time thanks to several excellent saves by their keeper Zander Clark.

However, Clement put on Scott Wright for Todd Cantwell, who has just returned from a lengthy injury lay-off and had struggled to make his usual impact out of position out wide, at the start of the second half and his team had soon worn down their opponents’ stubborn resistance.

James Tavernier put Rangers ahead from the penalty spot after Clark had brought down Danilo, substitute Wright doubled their lead following good work by Ryan Jack and then Tavernier curled a free-kick into the top right corner after Wright had been fouled by Kye Rowles.

Steven Naismith’s team pulled one back from the spot with 10 minutes of regulation time remaining after a VAR check showed that replacement Ben Davies had kicked Stephen Kingsley – who had his second yellow card rescinded by referee Nick Walsh.

Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland stepped up and made no mistake from the spot. But it is Rangers who will return to Mount Florida next month to take on their old adversaries Aberdeen. Here are five talking points from a one-sided encounter.


Clement singled out his skipper for special praise at Ibrox last week after Rangers came a goal behind to triumph against Hearts in the cinch Premiership thanks to strikes in the 89th and 93rd minutes. The right back netted a penalty and supplied the cross for the winner.

The Belgian will be running out of superlatives to describe the Englishman at this rate. The defender once again led by example this afternoon. He converted his spot kick and free kick with clinical precision to take his tally for the 2023/24 campaign to 10.


Clark finally won his first cap for Scotland last month when he came on in the friendly against France in Lille. The Hearts goalkeeper endured a difficult evening against the full-strength hosts. However, he will make more international appearances if he continues to play as well as he did today.

Rangers would have had their place in the final wrapped up by half-time if the former St Johnstone man had not been in such inspired form. He did well to deny Todd Cantwell twice and Abdallah Sima twice as the Govan club dominated.

He gifted Rangers a penalty five minutes into the second half when he brought down Danilo and remained rooted to his spot when Tavernier stepped up and broke the deadlock from the spot. But his side were only level because of him.

His opposite number Jack Butland kept Rangers ahead shortly after the opener when he palmed away a Frankie Kent header at a Jorge Grant corner. He then tipped a dipping Stephen Kingsley shot over his crossbar after Wright had added a second.

The new Butland song – to the tune of the classic John Fogerty song Rockin’ All Over The World – received a fair airing. Clark, though, was by far the busier keeper on the pitch. He denied Borna Barisic late on as well to keep the scoreline semi-respectable.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke, who was watching from the main stand, will have been pleased with what he witnessed.


Leon Balogun made a surprise return to the Rangers starting line-up against Dundee at Dens Park in midweek when Ben Davies was unexpectedly ruled out and impressed despite not featuring for over two months.

He retained his place today and picked up where he had left off. The centre half suffered an injury on the half hour mark when he blocked a goal-bound Toby Sibbick shot. But he dusted himself down and continued and helped give his side a platform on which to perform.

The Ibrox side have the strength in depth they need to enjoy a successful season at home and abroad.


Former Beveren, Genk, Club Brugge and Monaco manager Clement, who has overseen four victories and a draw since replacing Michael Beale last month, continues to show why Rangers directors preferred him to England great Frank Lampard.

He spotted that playing Cantwell wide and Sam Lammers through the middle was not really working in the first half and put on Wright. The former Aberdeen kid made a real difference. He took his goal superbly and added energy and invention in the final third.


Appeals from Clement for the ultras in the Rangers support to leave their pyrotechnics at home and focus on singing and chanting instead were, by and large, listened to.

There were a couple of halfwits in the Ibrox club’s section of the stadium who decided it would be a good idea to start firing rockets in the direction of the pitch as the teams took to the field. One of them struck the roof and dropped on the fans below.

But there was no coordinated display of the kind there had been through at Dens Park on Wednesday night. These kind of occasions have often been lit up by the hardcore element among the support in the past. Maybe, then, the message is slowly but surely getting through. One Rangers fan set off a smoke canister while a couple of Hearts diehards ignited flares. But it was nothing for the authorities or organisers to get overly concerned about. Not with a crowd of 44,734 in attendance.

Scottish football needs to get to grips with its pyro problem somehow. A blind eye can no longer be turned. This was a step in the right direction.