A frustrated Steven Gerrard admitted his Rangers side did not play well enough to beat Hearts after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Tynecastle.
The Light Blues were off the pace in a frantic opening 15 minutes which threatened to take the game away from them, as Hearts hit the bar before drawing first blood through Ryotaro Meshino in the sixth minute.
Rangers grew into the game as the first half wore on and found an equaliser in the 39th minute when September’s Ladbrokes Premiership player of the month Alfredo Morelos tucked the ball home at the far post.
The visitors had chances in an open second half but they were unable to produce the three points which would have taken them back to the top of the league table at the expense of Old Firm rivals Celtic.
Gerrard rued his side’s first-half display and said that Rangers did not do enough to merit taking all three points.
He said: “I don’t think we performed well enough to win the game, that’s for sure. I certainly see it as two points dropped right now.
“We never started the game well enough. I thought we were poor in the opening exchanges and lucky not to be 2-0 down.
“They’ve had a fantastic header that’s hit the bar but we need to be doing better to stop the cross.
“And then we go a goal behind and I think Hearts deserve that. It’s an individual error again that’s cost us.
“So I’m really disappointed with how we started the game. I thought we reacted quite well and did well to get back in the game.
“We got to half-time and tried to reset it because we never competed well enough in the first 15 or so minutes.
“But overall, even going forward, today we just weren’t at it. We never created enough, we never tested the keeper enough, so it’s a frustrating day and I certainly see it as two points dropped.”
There were some positives for Rangers as winger Ryan Kent came off the bench to make his first appearance since limping off against Livingston with a hamstring injury on September 14.
But Gerrard could not hide his disappointment as he called for more from his “game-changers”.
He added: “We’ve scored a goal. Obviously Alfredo is Alfredo – always in good positions – and that’s a good goal.
“But I can’t remember their keeper having to make a save, I can’t remember us looking very dangerous.
“We got into some good positions down the left and the right but our crossing wasn’t there today and our inventive play wasn’t there today.
“I’m expecting more from my game-changers because over the course of the 90 minutes we never did enough to win this game.”
Hearts boss Craig Levein praised his side’s effort and insisted he wants to see more of the same moving forward.
“I’m pleased,” he said. “I was a little bit irritated about the way we lost the goal at a set-piece but the commitment, the effort, the competitive edge was there and was very apparent, which we needed.
“The test for us now is to find that every single week because there is no point in doing that today and next week not doing ourselves justice.”
The hosts were forced to bring off Aidy White (head) and Jake Mulraney (ankle) in the second half and Levein said White would go through the concussion procedure to rule out that possibility, while Mulraney will have an X-ray to determine the extent of his injury.