This August, Scottish club football returns with games kicking off on Saturday 9th August. For those concerned that the Premiership may be a tad predictable this year, there is always the promise of an exciting Championship. Fans will have their attention fixed upon the meeting of Rangers and Hearts as they take each other on for the first time since 2012.
The teams share a long competitive history. The game on the 10th August will be the 300th meeting between the teams. Of their 299 previous fixtures, 148 have been played at Rangers and 63 at Hearts.
The highest Rangers score came in the 1895/96 season when they won 7-2. Hearts best result 5-0 in the 1905/06. The scores in recent years have been relatively modest, with the odd goal-filled outing. Hearts followers will likely remember their last encounter, which saw Rangers winning by three goals to nil at Tynecastle in 2011/12.
Though Rangers have won the majority of meetings their past results are not enough to predict the results of the Championship games. It’s not just a Premiership title to play for: both teams have a chance to reinstate themselves as a top tier team. As Hibs entered the Championship as the least threatening contender for promotion, Hearts and Rangers will likely be focused more on one another than with the Easter Road team.
Hearts finished their last season better than they started. Whether the result of a nothing-left-to-lose mentality after an almost inevitable relegation or the result of a year’s experience for their younger players, the Jambos walked away with four wins, a loss, and a draw post relegation.
Rangers, on the other hand left League One last season comfortably, deserving of their upcoming stint in the Championship. The Gers were promoted after taking the title undefeated. The team won all but three league games in which they drew with Stranraer, Stenhousemuir and Dunfermline Athletic.
It seems unlikely that Rangers will struggle when moving up to Championship level. They looked out of place in League One and are clearly keen to restore their position in the Premiership.
Hearts have a reputation to rebuild and the pressure is all theirs. It is not the case though that they will be walked over this season, especially with bitter rivals Hibs also in contention for promotion.
It would be unfair to be discount Hibs in the race for the title. With a an unbeaten run so far in their friendly fixtures, Hibs also have a reputation to restore. After a very poor season, it feels as though Hibs have been written off prior to the opening of the season.
Raith Rovers and Falkirk will also aim to make it difficult for Rangers and Hearts to progress. Neither teams seems overly threatening though and will likely be hoping for slip ups similar to that in the recent Rangers result against Ventura County Fusion.
A promising Scottish Championship awaits that will likely claim most attention this year. August brings a start to the league that can be relished as the 300th Hearts v Rangers fixture kicks off. Rangers will face Hearts on Sunday 10th August at Ibrox.
Written by Daniel Lafferty