Rangers eased to a 3-1 victory over Hearts on Saturday to delay bitter rivals Celtic's Scottish Premiership title celebrations for at least a week.

Goals from English veteran Jermain Defoe as well as Ryan Jack and Niko Katic secured a third successive victory and had their manager Steven Gerrard purring.

Rangers -- in their first season under former England and Liverpool captain Gerrard -- are eight points behind of Celtic, who face a tough trip to Hibernian on Sunday.

Both will have four games remaining at the end of the weekend with three of those fixtures at home for Rangers, including on May 12 against Celtic.

"I can't ask for any more," Gerrard told Sky Sports.

"The supporters deserve four more strong performances before the end of the season.

"We've underachieved at certain times, we've done well at times. Consistency is a word that has come up a lot.

"When we become capable of stringing a long winning run together that's when we will be challenging."

Defoe showed his class remains even if at 36 his legs are understandably not as fast as they were, coolly finishing off a great move begun by Jon Flanagan's crunching tackle to win possession on the halfway line.

Rangers doubled their lead in the 36th minute as once again Hearts gave up possession in midway up the field, Daniel Candeias then found Jack, whose sublime shot from the edge of the penalty area nestled into the back of the net.

Candeias was at the heart of their third, his cross being converted by Katic at the far post.

A passive Hearts finally raised their game shortly after the third goal -- Craig Wighton's goalbound header somehow being saved by Allan McGregor.

Steven MacLean did pull one back with 16 minutes remaining, heading home Jake Mulraney's cross, but they found little else to give them hope of avoiding a third successive defeat.