Rangers boss Stuart McCall admits victory over Hearts left him with both 'goosebumps' and a growing belief of earning promotion

  • Rangers boosted their chances of promotion with a win against Hearts
  • Kenny Miller and Haris Vuckic earned Gers victory at Ibrox Stadium 
  • Rangers lost captain Lee McCulloch to a reckless red card during match
  • Boss Stuart McCall is confident of getting rejuvenated Rangers promoted  

Stuart McCall on Sunday night admitted the finest performance of his short Ibrox reign left him with ‘goosebumps’ and a growing belief that he can steer revitalised Rangers up to the Premiership.

On a day which ended with Ibrox captain Lee McCulloch publicly apologising for a reckless red card, first-half goals from Kenny Miller and Haris Vuckic were enough to ensure the captain’s 44th-minute folly did not prevent Rangers securing an important three points against Championship title winners Hearts.

Genero Zeefuik pulled back a late consolation for Robbie Neilson’s men but Rangers closed out the game to make it three wins in a row as McCall’s improving side leapfrogged Hibs into second place with six games remaining.

Kenny Miller (left) celebrates scoring for Rangers against Championship winners Hearts on Sunday

Kenny Miller (left) celebrates scoring for Rangers against Championship winners Hearts on Sunday

And last night the delighted Ibrox caretaker boss admitted he is starting to trust that his players can take charge of their own destiny in the end-of-season play-offs.

‘I’m beginning to trust the players the more and more I work with them,’ said McCall. ‘I’m very proud of the team and the fans. Hearts had won nine on the bounce before today and they are champions for a reason. They’ve won 26 out of 30 games.

‘But we scored two terrific goals and the tempo and passing in the first half in particular was outstanding.

Haris Vuckic (centre) scored the decisive goal for Rangers in the 2-1 victory that moved them into second

Haris Vuckic (centre) scored the decisive goal for Rangers in the 2-1 victory that moved them into second

‘The second half was about guts and desire and being a good team-mate. ‘It was a hard shift and there were a lot of tired boys at full-time — but it was a deserved win in the end.

‘I’ve got to say that was probably the first time for a long, long, long time — probably since I was playing — that I have been out there and got goosebumps. I thought the boys deserved their applause at the end.

‘Hibs have lost three on the bounce now and we’ve won three on the bounce, so that shows how things can change quickly in football.

Rangers were reduced to 10 men when captain Lee McCulloch was dismissed from the pitch

Rangers were reduced to 10 men when captain Lee McCulloch was dismissed from the pitch

Staurt McCall says the Gers captain apologised to him as well as the players after the incident

Staurt McCall says the Gers captain apologised to him as well as the players after the incident

‘We’ve got a tough game at Queen of the South on Thursday and all we want is to keep improving.

‘But we can take belief, confidence and momentum forward from this.’

After the match, McCulloch made a brief appearance on BT Sport to apologise for his red card for an elbow on Osman Sow.

He said: ‘I felt as though I was caught in no-man’s land, if he won the header there would have been a runner in.

Genero Zeefuik tapped in from close range as Hearts scored a consolation against Rangers

Genero Zeefuik tapped in from close range as Hearts scored a consolation against Rangers

‘There was no intent whatsoever, I can say that honestly, but obviously I’m disappointed.

‘I’ve apologised to all the management, all my team-mates, I feel as if I’ve let myself down.’

McCulloch is out of contract at the end of this season and when asked if he would like to remain at Ibrox, he said: ‘Of course I want to stay here. I’ve got a part to play I feel for the run-in and get the club back to where we want to be.’

McCall plans to watch the incident again before deciding what action, if any, to take against his captain, who now misses Thursday night’s match at Queen of the South.

Victory for Rangers moves them into second and continues their resurgence under Stuart McCall

Victory for Rangers moves them into second and continues their resurgence under Stuart McCall

He said: ‘I missed the challenge but the referee said he’s caught the boy with an elbow.

‘Jig’s come in and apologised to me and the team afterwards, so it must have merited a red card.

‘Am I disappointed that such an experienced player would do that at such an important time of the season? That’s a good question but I’ve not had time to think about it. I’ll look at it then speak to him.’

McCulloch walks off the pitch after he was shown the red card on Easter Sunday

McCulloch walks off the pitch after he was shown the red card on Easter Sunday

But McCall praised the attitude of the players who remained on the park and won three points.

‘Attitude and desire has got to be a gimme if you want to play here at Rangers,’ he added.

‘It’s easy to buckle and go into your shell when things aren’t going well but we saw today people puffed out their chests. 

‘They are enjoying themselves because of the way we are playing and results. But they know if they don’t perform like that every week they will be out of the team.’