Date: 19th April 2008 at 8:49pm
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The attendance and subdued atmosphere at today’s game reflected the latest dip in our spirits caused by the AGM reports.

The crowd was officially given as 15,259 – however Hearts seem to declare crowd figures which includes all Season Ticket seats, which usually overstates the ACTUAL attendance. My rough visual estimate would have been under 14,000.

Although the sun shone, the cold wind reminded us that these are hard times for the club, and the fans were generally quiet throughout this ‘nothing at stake’ match.

The first thing I noticed was the contrast in the players’ warm-up routines. After the stretching and jogging stuff, Andy Millen had a group of eight St. Mirren players doing a series of ‘run and pass’ routines for 10 minutes. Fairly simple stuff, but it looked disciplined and is presumably designed to develop a positive instinct and confidence in the players.

Whenever I glanced at our routines, things looked much less disciplined – some players just running/walking about, kicking a ball occasionally, doing their own thing. More tellingly, on two occasions when Frail was giving advice/instructions to a Hearts player during this period, it looked to me as if the player wasn’t actually paying any attention to him!

Hearts picked up the three points with goals from Eggert Jonsson, Gary Glen and Laryea Kingston – the Ghanaian’s free-kick winner being a real peach that would have had TV commentators drooling if it had been executed by Nakamura. With St. Mirren scoring first, this was the first time Hearts had come from behind to win (in 90 minutes) since George Burley’s opening league game at Kilmarnock in 2005.

However the main bright spot for Hearts fans was the performance of young Gary Glen whose movement, enthusiasm and ball control were exactly what we’ve been lacking since Velicka left. In addition, he scored a decent goal and played a part in Jonsson’s equaliser too. Even without his goal though, he offered much more of an option to our midfield players than Nade.

Unfortunately our midfield players were poor from a creative point of view, often failing to do the simple thing well. I can’t help feeling that some of these guys could develop into really good midfielders if we had a coach who could galvanise them into a unit and give them the confidence to make forward runs and attack more, instead of continually playing safety-first passes back to defenders who then tend to just ‘blooter’ it up the park.

Our other newcomer – Jason Thomson at right-back – was not as impressive as Glen. For most of the first half he seemed a bit lost for pace and didn’t appear to know his role. However, he put in a couple of good tackles in the 2nd half, so hopefully he will grow in confidence during these meaningless matches, as our worst season for many a year draws to a close.


10 Replies to “Five-Goal Thriller? Er..Nah!”

  • Thanks for that SH – nice to hear from someone who was actually at the game unlike my disgracefully part-time, apathetic self! As a matter of interest although you didn’t seem overly impressed with Thomson, would you still consider him to be an improvement upon Neilson?

  • No need to apologise for apathy etc, Mr H – we’ve all been there !!
    As for your question – imagine Robbie on one of his most frustrating/incompetent days. Well, Jason was probably a shade better than that yesterday !! I’d expect him to improve considerably with experience – however once Neilson is available again, Frail will probably drop the lad. So its seems unlikely that Thomson will feature regularly in the near future, unless Robbie gets injured. However maybe having a young ‘deputy’ knocking on the door will spur Robbie to raise his game next season.

  • I saw Thomson the last time he played for the first time and he simply didn’t look ready. We’ve always struggled for decent right backs though haven’t we? Only Frail himself and Alan Maybury have been consistently decent in my lifetime as a Jambo, whereas on the other side we’ve been a lot more fortunate.

  • My impression of Thomson was that he seemed overawed by the occaision – hard to believe but there you go. His positional awareness was all over the place. Agree with the assessment of Glen, how refreshing to have a striker who is actually mobile ….. and when Makela came on I almost got excited by the 2 of them – what a shame that Frail has openly said he doesn’t rate the latter. It is difficult to get roused by the rest of the season – personally I’m looking forward to the Killie game as the me and the guys I go with are planning a bit of a sesh afterwards to see out the season.

  • Must admit I don’t rate Makela either – he’s just never seemed like a good enough player even if his scoring ratio isn’t bad.

  • I wouldn’t necessarily say that Makela is top-drawer, but his performance on Saturday was a sight better than Nade and on this evidence a Glen/Makela partbership would seem to be a bit more exciting than anything else.

  • Jury’s out on Nade for me. I think there’s something there if properly coached and trained, but sadly we’re a long way from having that. But there’s just something about Makela that I think makes him immediately a class below…….mind you, I think the same about Kris Boyd……….!

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