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Jul 23, 2011

Champions held by Hearts

The Ally McCoist era at Rangers did not get off to the ideal start on Saturday as the defending SPL champions drew 1-1 at home to Hearts.

McCoist is stepping into big shoes at Ibrox following the departure of Walter Smith, and the job will seem a little more daunting after Rangers delivered a shaky defensive performance that drew cries of anguish from the home crowd.

Set plays were a particular concern for the hosts, who fell behind on 16 minutes when David Obua was left unmarked at a corner, allowing him to simply plant the ball past a helpless Allan McGregor.

Rangers were much improved in the second half, with Steven Davis and Steven Naismith both missing fine chances inside the opening 10 minutes. Naismith's miss was particularly bad, the Scotland international slamming wildly over with the goal at his mercy.

He redeemed himself just before the hour, glancing home Sasa Papac's cross with Hearts' defence absent without leave. But a winner would not arrive and Rangers were grateful at the end for a world class save by McGregor to deny Obua his second.

Motherwell finish day one of the SPL season on top of the table after they recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Inverness at Fir Park. Two goals in the first half did the damage for Stuart McCall's side, who visit Kilmarnock in their next match.

Steven Hammell opened the scoring on 25 minutes, and Inverness were still reeling when they conceded a second three minutes later. Striker Jamie Murphy was the man to find the net on this occasion, propelling Motherwell above champions Rangers.

A rocket from Keith Lasley nestled into the top corner twenty minutes from time to put the seal on an auspicious start for Motherwell.

The day's other game saw ten-man Aberdeen, who had Ryan Jack sent off for a lunge at Murray Davidson, draw 0-0 with St Johnstone at Pittodrie.

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