Steven Naismith disappointed by Rangers goal as Hearts boss bemoans 'quick' injury time
Steven Naismith bemoaned “fine margins” as Hearts' winning run in the league was halted by Rangers.
The Tynecastle manager pointed to wasted opportunities, by Kyosuke Tagawa and substitute Kenneth Vargas specifically, after his side went down to the only goal of the game scored by the prolific Rangers forward Abdallah Sima.
“These games are fundamentally done on small margins,” he said. “We were defensively poor for their goal, then we have some really good chances. Kyosuke [Tagawa] has one where he slashes at it and misses the ball.
“It's a really good chance and we should be hitting the target with that. Kenneth [Vargas] has another one where he tries an overhead kick. If we can work that slightly better, it's a better chance. That was probably the difference, that we never created more and tested the goalie.”
Hearts’ most glaring opportunity came in the first half, shortly before Sima put Rangers ahead. Indeed, it was two chances – Lawrence Shankland saw his first shot beaten out by Jack Butland from close range, then Alex Cochrane, on his 100th Hearts appearance, was denied by a brilliant goalline block by James Tavernier.
“We had the biggest chance with Alex [Cochrane] which came from a good move,” said Naismith. “It doesn't go in and then we lose a really poor goal. For them to have a throw-in in their defensive third and within a few passes they get a chance, we didn't cover ourselves in glory with that.
“It's important in those moments that you don't unravel like you've seen probably over the years. We managed to stay in the game. We changed the shape, Rangers had a few chances but we defended well. They missed the chances and Zander (Clark) came up with a couple of good saves. I think the change of shape helped us. We had more of an attacking threat and then we had a couple of chances towards the end. I'm disappointed not to take anything from the game.”
Naismith was seen complaining about the surprisingly miserly amount of time added on at the end – just three minutes. Hearts fans were unhappy about the time Rangers were taking at substitutions. Naismith was asked whether more time should more time have been added on. Nowadays, six or seven minutes is becoming common.
"Who knows?” he said. “I didn't put my stopwatch on so I don't know how many minutes should have been added on, but it went quick.”
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