In a bruising encounter, Edgaras Jankauskas’ 10th-minute opener for the Jambos had separated the sides until after the interval when Thomas Buffel scrambled in a Chris Burke cross at the back post.
McLeish said: “The way the second half went I was disappointed not to have won. We had fought back really well, passed it better and made chances but it’s not a disaster.
“Craig Gordon’s a terrific goalkeeper and made some terrific saves. But the gap can be bridged. There’s enough points to do it and there were a lot positives in my team’s performance.”
Hearts’ director of football Jim Duffy was reluctant to dwell on referee Craig Thomson’s erratic performance which included showing only a yellow card to Rangers striker Dado Prso for a dangerous challenge on Steven Pressley.
“When you get big matches you prefer to talk about the football but I think unfortunately there will be quite a lot of talk about the official and that’s something we don’t want to do. There was one or two decisions we didn’t agree with but I’m sure Alex McLeish will say the same”
: Gordon, Neilson, Pressley, Webster, Fyssas, Cesnauskis, Hartley, Brellier, Skacel (Mikoliunas 86), Bednar (Elliot 76), Jankauskas.
: Waterreus, Hutton, Rodriguez, Kyrgiakos, Murray, Burke, Buffel, Ferguson, Hemdani, Prso (Novo 75), Lovenkrands (Kris Boyd 56).
: C Thomson.