The two Nigerian stars played crucial roles to help the Gers brush their hosts aside at Tynecastle on Sunday
Joe Aribo was again on the scoresheet, and Calvin Bassey delivered another fine defensive display as Rangers humbled Hearts 2-0 at the Tynecastle.
A blockbuster battle was anticipated between the first and third in the Premiership with just nine points separating the two clubs.
Hearts boasted an unbeaten record at home, but they welcomed a Gers side that had gone unbeaten since Gio van Bronckhorst replaced Steven Gerrard at Ibrox.
And the visitors showed no sign of their Europa League exertions at Lyon when they took a two-goal lead within the opening quarter of an hour.
First, Alfredo Morelos broke the deadlock with a superb finish from Fashion Sakala’s cutback in the ninth minute, for his seventh goal in his last seven games against Hearts.
Then Aribo made it two-nil four minutes later. The Nigerian international raced through on goal to connect to a brilliant long ball from Connor Goldson, and he kept his composure to slam past goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
Aribo’s brilliant goal against Hearts today. Only a matter of time before that Premier League move comes.pic.twitter.com/0KUoOSgSWC— Oluwajoba (@olumcjobson) December 12, 2021
That Aribo goal was his sixth league strike this season, the same number he notched last season to help the Rangers on their way to the Scottish Premiership title. It has, however, taken the Super Eagles star 14 fewer games to hit that mark.
In defence, Nigerian defender Leon Balogun remains unavailable for the Gers, and Bassey continued to deputise impressively for his compatriot.
The Leicester City academy product scored an own goal in the 1-1 draw at Lyon in midweek, and he was close to sending an effort through his own net again midway through the second half.
A dangerous cross from Josh Ginnelly swung into the box, and Bassey’s block sent the ball hurtling onto the underside of the bar before being cleared away to safety.
Otherwise, the 21-year-old barely put a foot wrong as Rangers secured another clean sheet and a win that gives them seven points above rivals Celtic.