DANIEL STENDEL was relieved goal hero Liam Boyce played through the pain barrier as he fired Hearts to victory over Rangers.

The striker marked his debut for the Jambos in style on Sunday as he netted a late winner at Tynecastle to move Stendel’s side to within a point of Hamilton at the foot of the Premiership.

Boyce only completed his move from Burton Albion on Saturday afternoon but he was pitched straight into the starting line-up as he and Steven Naismith formed an impressive partnership in the final third.

Naismith cancelled out Ryan Kent’s opener for Rangers as the stage was set for Hearts to go on and claim a deserved win when Boyce hit the winner with just minutes remaining.

And boss Stendel revealed the 28-year-old was convinced to stay on the park for the closing stages as he quickly became a Gorgie goal hero.

Stendel said: "He came in late on Saturday and did not train with the team. We were convinced he is the right player in the right place for us.

“The goal was great but you can see from the performance in the first half that he improved our game so much. He was really tired.

“After 65 minutes he asked to be substituted but we could not substitute him or we would have ten players. I said: 'You need to stay.' It was the right decision and this is the reason why signed him. He has the right personality for our team and can be an important player.

"They are both experienced and they play well together. That was the idea. It was no easy to decide that Naismith played. He is our skipper but he was injured for a long time.

“We have had three games in a week but we decided in the morning with him that he would play. I need my skipper on the pitch.

“It's important for the players and the team. He played so well and scored.”