Hearts exited the Viaplay Cup at the semi-final stage after a ruthless second-half display by Rangers at Hampden Park. James Tavernier scored twice and Scott Wright also found the net to record a 3-1 victory for the Ibrox club, Hearts' consolation coming via Lawrence Shankland's penalty kick.
The Tynecastle side managed to stifle opposition for the first 45 minutes but needed to show greater attacking impetus themselves. Rangers increased the pace after half-time and scored three times inside 14 minutes to secure their place in December's final against Aberdeen.
Hearts arrived at Hampden Park knowing they had never beaten Rangers at the national stadium. They were without Alex Lowry, the Ibrox loanee prohibited from facing his parent club, but stuck with a three-man central defence. Rangers named in-form Brazilian forward Danilo as the focal point of their attack after his winner against Hearts in the league last weekend and another strike at Dundee in midweek.
It was Zander Clark, the Hearts goalkeeper, who made the first genuine save of the afternoon to stop Abdallah Sima's header from Tavernier's teasing cross after 17 minutes. Moments later he collected Todd Cantwell's glancing header. Rangers' pressure continued and Clark sprung to his left to push Cantwell's volley round the post on 26 minutes.
Hearts struggled to emerge from their own half at times and the travelling fans from Edinburgh could be heard urging their side forwards as the interval approached. As long as the game remained goalless, there was no cause for panic from anyone in maroon. That's how it stayed until the early stages of the second half.
Danilo fastened on a loose ball after it flicked off Kye Rowles head and bounced into the Hearts penalty area. As Clark emerged, the striker touched the ball past him. The keeper collided with his opponent and referee Nick Walsh pointed to the spot. Tavernier stepped up to stroke his shot left of Clark and into the net to put Rangers 1-0 ahead.
Frankie Kent's header from Jorge Grant's corner almost forced an equaliser as Jack Butland made a vital save. However, five minutes after their opener, Rangers' advantage doubled. Danilo slid a pass to Wright in the inside-right channel, and he steadied himself for a clinical conversion low into the bottom corner.
The Hearts defender Stephen Kingsley forced Butland into an acrobatic save with a dipping 25-yard attempt, but this was now a tall order for Steven Naismith's team. Rangers were in command and scored again on 64 minutes. After Kye Rowles fouled Wright, Tavernier swept the resultant free-kick high into the top corner from around 20 yards.
The deficit reduced to 3-1 after 80 minutes and a good degree of deliberating. As substitute Yutaro Oda's low cross arrived in the Rangers penalty area, Kingsley fell in a challenge with substitute Ben Davies. Referee Walsh initially issued a second yellow card followed by a red for simulation, but changed his mind after VAR advised a touchline monitor review.
Kingsley was adamant a foul was committed and was proven correct. Shankland rolled the resultant penalty past Butland to offer a flickering light of hope for those from Edinburgh. There was not enough time left for them to recover fully, though, as Philippe Clement's team saw the game out.
Here are the Hearts player ratings from Hampden Park: