'Load of nonsense': Hearts hit back at Rangers claim as they bid to complete set

Gordon refutes mental block claim as Jambos prepare for final match

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon has dismissed the notion that the Tynecastle outfit have a problem with belief when it comes to playing Rangers.

The Ibrox outfit are the only Premiership club Hearts have failed to beat this season. The duo have met five times, with Rangers prevailing in every encounter – including two semi-finals at Hampden. The Jambos have one final opportunity to take the scalp of Philippe Clement’s team when they welcome the Gers to Tynecastle on Saturday on the final day of the season.

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Asked if Hearts face a mental block when they take on Rangers, Gordon retorted: “No, absolutely not. I've heard this so many times and it's a load of nonsense. We have come close, we were close at Ibrox (in October), we played well in the Scottish Cup semi-final and if we managed to get a goal we could have gone on to win the game. I think it's a crazy thing that's come up over the last year or so.

Hearts have yet to defeat Rangers this season.Hearts have yet to defeat Rangers this season.
Hearts have yet to defeat Rangers this season.

“We'll be going out to beat them at Tynecastle. The players definitely don't like that getting bandied about so if there was to be any additional motivation, it's certainly that because we don't like it. We've had a good season and we want to finish on 70 points so it would be nice to get the win and maybe shut a few people up in the process. If we manage to beat Rangers then we'll have beaten everybody in this league at some point, which is not easy to do, so that's another thing for us to aim for.”

Hearts manager Steven Naismith says Hearts’ season has been “really good” and added: “What we set out in the summer, we achieved. We could improve on the two semi-finals but the manner that we’ve come third, and the run of wins, clean sheets and away wins, that tells you everything you need to know. We’ve had a good season and we’ve got loads of potential. [Beating Rangers] is probably the last thing we can achieve. The games have been tight apart from one. Tomorrow is a good opportunity but we know it will be a tough game.”

Meanwhile, Naismith believes Beni Baningime is “only going to get better” after the midfielder signed a new two-year contract with Hearts. The 25-year-old moved to Tynecastle from Everton in the summer of 2021 but – with his previous deal about to expire – there had been uncertainty about whether he would remain beyond the end of this season. However, Baningime, whose progress at Hearts was disrupted by an ACL knee injury sustained in March 2022, has now pledged himself to the Edinburgh club until the summer of 2026.

“I’m really pleased that we’ve got this sorted and Beni has committed his future to the club,” Naismith told the Hearts website. “I think everyone can see that he is now getting back to his best on the pitch, which was always going to take a bit of time given the rehabilitation process he had to go through. The exciting thing for me is that Beni is only going to get better. There is more to come from him and that bodes very well for the team heading into next season.”



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