Hearts promoted after Rangers win

AFP| Updated: Mar 23, 2015, 09:46 AM IST
Hearts promoted after Rangers win

Hearts were promoted to the Scottish Premiership on Sunday at the first time of asking as Rangers` 2-0 win at Hibernian ensured the Edinburgh club will finish second tier champions.

Robbie Neilson`s side knew their victory over Falkirk on Saturday had moved them within touching distance of a return to the top-flight following last season`s relegation and they were able to celebrate promotion with seven games to spare following a defeat for their hated local rivals at Easter Road.

Fittingly, it was Lee Wallace, a former Hearts players, who opened the scoring for Rangers and the wing-back also played a role in Kenny Miller`s late second that sealed a vital win for Stuart McCall`s team.

Wallace fired home in the 44th minute following a quick break and then appeared to impede Paul Hanlon in a challenge that went unpunished and led to Miller scoring with 10 minutes left.

The victory was McCall`s first in his three games in charge and ended a five-match winning run for Rangers.

More significantly for Neilson and company, it meant that Hearts` 23-point lead at the top is unassailable.

Hearts have romped to the title, suffering just one defeat in the Championship this season and winning 25 of their 29 league games.

"We`ve worked really hard, the players have been magnificent and we`ve given something back to the fans," Neilson said.

"They backed us last year when we got relegated, and they`ve backed us to the hilt this year in the chase to get back up again and we`ve managed to deliver."

Neilson did not even get to watch the Rangers win as he was attending a coaching course at Stirling University on Sunday morning.

"The key factor has been the hard work from the players. They have bought into the changes made to the training regime. They have worked hard and they deserve everything," he added.

"I couldn`t ask any more of them, every day at training they give everything. Every game they give me everything and to a man they have been fantastic this season."

Sunday`s match also had a major impact on the race for play-off places as Rangers cut the gap on second-placed Hibs to three points going into the final weeks of the season.