RANGERS completed a clean sweep of Premiership wins over Hearts and moved a step closer to securing second spot this season with a 3-1 victory at Tynecastle.

Goals from Jermain Defoe, Ryan Jack and Nikola Katic clinched the points for the Light Blues before Steven MacLean scored a late consolation for Craig Levein’s side.

That was the only negative for the Gers on a pleasing afternoon for Gerrard and his players in the Gorgie sunshine. It is now three wins in three since the Old Firm defeat at Parkhead that ended their title hopes and Celtic will need to wait another week to secure the league flag.

Boss Gerrard stuck with the same side that were impressive winners at Fir Park last time out and was rewarded with a similarly emphatic performance and comfortable win.

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Rangers started positively as Daniel Candeias fired just wide of target after the ball broke to him at the edge of the area, while Jack curled an effort outside of Zdenek Zlamal’s left-hand post. The visitors didn’t have to wait long to open their account, though.

Jon Flanagan won the ball with a solid challenge on Craig Wighton in the middle of the park and Glen Kamara had the vision to play a quick pass that set Defoe through on goal.

The finish from the Englishman was clinical as he burst clear and slotted the ball beyond Zlamal to give Rangers a 16th minute lead.

It was an advantage that could have been extended just seconds later but Scott Arfield’s effort was tame after he won the ball on the edge of the area.

Hearts were struggling to cause Rangers any real problems. Uche Ikpeazu fired high and wide of target with his only real sight of target, while Wighton couldn’t even make McGregor work as he miscued under pressure from Connor Goldson.

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When the second goal of the afternoon did arrive, it was no surprise that it was Rangers that got it and the move was similar to their first strike.

It was Jack that won the ball in a central area this time and he continued his run to the right before Candeias picked him out. Jack made no mistake as he found the far corner of the net and Rangers were well on their way to victory now.

Within minutes of the restart, the points were secured. Rangers played a quick corner on the far side and Candeias swung in a teasing cross.

At the back post, Katic was on hand to convert as Zlamal was left with no chance. The same could be said for Hearts now as some home fans headed for the exits early.

It could have been 4-0 soon afterwards as Candeias saw his header saved, while Defoe should have scored when clear through, but he attempted to square the ball to Arfield and the chance was lost.

There was no prospect of Hearts making Rangers pay for those missed opportunities but the Jambos did get a goal to show for their efforts. Bobby Burns supplied the cross from the left and substitute MacLean diverted a header beyond Allan McGregor as Rangers were denied a clean sheet.

The three points were well won, though, and that was what really mattered for Gerrard as his side produced an accomplished performance once again.