We can’t afford slow starts, Aribo warns Rangers

Hearts raced into an early lead in Sunday’s draw.

By Press Association Published: 21 October 2019 - 3.30am

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Joe Aribo insists Rangers need to be at their best from the very first whistle in future games in order to avoid a repeat of Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Hearts.

The Light Blues were lucky not to find themselves 2-0 down early on after Uche Ikpeazu hit the bar and Ryotaro Meshino opened the scoring in a breathless first six minutes.

Steven Gerrard’s side found their feet as the first half wore on and equalised through Alfredo Morelos in the 39th minute to grab a share of the spoils and join Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic on 22 points.

But Aribo admitted the visitors’ start gave them an uphill battle and called on them to hit the ground running in future.

He said: “We wanted to go out there and get three points and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that so it’s frustrating.

“We started slow and then from there we were just constantly chasing the game so it was hard for us.

“We have to bounce back from this and we just need to take every game as it comes and put in performances from the off and throughout the 90 minutes.”

Hearts captain Christophe Berra was pleased with the point against high-flying Rangers, but stressed the importance of getting results against the teams who are around them in the table as well.

The Jambos sit 10th after winning just one of their nine league games so far this season – the Edinburgh derby clash with Hibernian at Easter Road.

They have an opportunity to return to winning ways against Livingston next weekend but Berra knows that will be far from easy.

He said: “It was a competitive game, the kind of game Tynecastle is renowned for.

“Over the past season or two against Rangers they’ve always had the upper hand on us but (Sunday) was a very even game.

“Maybe a draw was a fair result.

“To be honest against the Aberdeens at home, Hibs, Celtic usually and Rangers we’re always at it. I don’t know if it’s no fear, it’s a bigger crowd or because it’s live on television.

“We’re happy with the result and we’ll take a lot of positives from it, but we need to prove ourselves against the so-called lesser teams who may come here and sit in a little bit or be a bit more hard to break down and cause us problems on the counter-attack.

“That’s where we’ve struggled in the last six to 12 months and there is not going to be any tougher game than Livingston next week.”