It would be fair to say that expectations were well and truly managed in the lead up to this fixture as far as the prospect of it being a rip-roaring encounter featuring ‘total football’ was concerned, so the fact that we ended up with an instantly forgettable 90 minutes would not have been any great surprise to anyone who turned up at Tynecastle yesterday afternoon.
Things did improve very slightly in the second half after a truly awful opening 45 minutes, but by that stage the majority of us had switched off. To give you an idea of the levels of apathy we’re talking about here, I practically had to wake up the guy in front of me to tell him that we had a penalty after 54 minutes…and even with this information the guy looked as though he’d have preferred to stay in his slumber to watching Mikey Stewart nicely dispatching the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net!
To be fair to Hearts, they had to re-shuffle their pack at the last minute due to Ruben Palazuelos pulling out of the squad with an illness. Csaba had been preparing to play a particular formation all week in training that featured the Spaniard, so the fact that he subsequently had to re-jig the tactics so late in the day was always going to have some sort of effect on the team. The fact that they did improve later on in the game therefore does illustrate that it took them time to get used to the way they were asked to play yesterday.
The match was won and lost and in the space of a single second half minute shortly after the interval. The aforementioned Michael Stewart penalty came about after good work from David Witteveen in the area. The Austrian wriggled free of his marker and was clearly brought down, giving the referee no choice but to award the penalty. Stewart did an expert job of putting the kick away.
Then a minute later from a Thomson corner, a Hamilton player on the edge of the area mistakenly knocked the ball back towards his own goal with a miscue, and Suso reacted smartly to turn the ball over the line with a neat backheel. 2-0 and the points safe?
Well they should have been, but Hearts were made to work to close out the match after Hamilton pulled a goal back through Marco Paixao on the hour mark. It was a fine strike by the winger, who got in nicely in front of Marius Zaliukas before slotting the ball past Janos Balogh.
And that was that, really. It was poor stuff from both sides throughout, and in the end Hearts were probably quite fortunate to come away with all three points. We’ll take them though, especially in these sort of games where we tend to struggle at times.
Hearts aren’t in action again at Tynecastle until October 24 when they’re due to face Falkirk. Let’s hope that by the time that game comes around Csaba has his team playing slightly more entertaining football, otherwise we should all be looking to bring our duvets and pillows along to that particular encounter!
Looked uncomfortable again, especially at cross balls which he flapped at a few times. Looks to have inherited Marian Kello’s dodgy kicking too…
Another great performance from the young lad. Put in some superb crosses both on the run and from set pieces, and also got stuck in when required.
A solid enough shift from big Jose, who was playing in Lee Wallace’s normal position on the left hand side of the defence.
Didn’t do a great deal wrong at the back. Looked pretty comfortable.
Had a pretty decent game at the back. Also showed good leadership qualities on occasions, although will be disappointed at the way Hearts conceded the goal.
Found it tough going in midfield, which was an area largely bypassed by both teams. Improved in the second half though, and his penalty kick was textbook.
Pretty ineffective afternoon for Black, although like Stewart he did get better as the match wore on.
Once again he was our most dynamic player in an attacking sense. Showed good skills and imagination at times, and he took his goal very well.
Still looks unfit, and as a result he rarely troubled the Hamilton defence. Largely anonymous.
Even more anonymous than Driver. Didn’t put in as much effort as he could have, either.
He’s clearly not a great footballer, but he was reasonably effective at times yesterday. Did well to earn the penalty and did a reasonable job holding the ball up in the second half.
Late sub – looked fairly lively.