Date: 24th October 2009 at 9:02pm
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Where do we start to describe this one ? I`ve seen some awful games in my time, but this one must rank among the worst as a general spectacle ? and in particular for the ineptitude shown by Hearts.

Hearts went into this game knowing that a win would put a decent gap between them and bottom team Falkirk. So the first surprise was learning that our main striker was going to be serial under-achiever Christian Nade, who had publicly stated in a news conference on Friday that he would “definitely score” in today`s match. Sadly, the Frenchman failed to live up to his promise – in fact, he looked as if his mind was elsewhere until he was replaced by David Witteween after 70 minutes. The blond Austrian produced more skill and threat in those final 20 minutes today than Nade has shown in most of his Hearts career. It baffles me why Csaba Laszlo still seems to see Nade as our number 1 striker.

The home side started very tamely, with some players showing a strange lack of urgency and belief. We created only 2 good chances in the first half. The first resulted from some fine passing between Nade, Suso and Driver, which allowed Andrew to fire in a shot from inside the box – but it was wide of the target. As half-time loomed, Suso ran on to a neat flick just outside the box, but was pulled down by Barr – who was booked for the offence. Sadly, the free-kick was wasted when Goncalves curled it too high over the bar. Credit is due to Eddie May for admitting after the game that his captain was fortunate not to be sent off for the foul, as it could be considered a goalscoring opportunity denied.

Mind you, Falkirk had threatened in the first half too. Balogh was alert enough to come out and smother at the feet of Finnbogasson after Bouzid had been caught napping, and then made a fine diving save from a dangerous long-range shot by McDonald.

Could the second half be any more frustrating ? Well .. yes, actually. The mis-placed passes continued at an amazing rate, and the fans seemed relieved on one hand that at least Falkirk didn`t look as if they could capitalise on Hearts ineptitude – while displaying their anger at some of the poor ball control and decision-making from the home side.

Falkirk keeper Olejnik made a fine save to prevent an own goal off McLean`s head, and in injury time he denied Witteween as he managed a close shot on the turn. In between, Suso shot narrowly wide from a good position, while Stewart blazed one over the bar. At the other end, a desperate block by Goncalves to stop a dangerous low cross flew inches past Balogh`s right-hand post.

If Hearts were “together” last season, there was precious little evidence of it today. The normally impressive Driver and Obua were shadows of their usual selves, while the forceful drive that Wallace and Palazuelos often provide was missing from their play today. Indeed, Obua struggled to stay involved in the game at times, and I was amazed that he wasn’t substituted. Only Goncalves, Suso and Thomson looked like proper footballers in this match. Captain Michael Stewart was taken off after 75 minutes to the ironic cheers of the home fans, replaced by Ian Black. I`ve seen Stewart have worse games, but Csaba`s frustration with him must have been strong enough to take the unusual step of removing his captain. The stats say that Hearts had 5 shots on target – I can only think 2. Csaba said we had enough chances to win 5-0, but only 2 or 3 of them were what I`d call “proper” chances.

The next match is the League Cup tie at Parkhead on Wednesday – a similar performance to today’s against Celtic would surely bring an embarassing exit. More importantly, the respect and affection which most fans have for manager Csaba Laszlo will not last much longer if we see many more performances like this against lowly SPL teams.

Player Ratings

Balogh 8
Saved his team on a few occasions – couldn’t be faulted, really

Thomson 7
Offered good options down the right, although he gets caught out defensively sometimes

Wallace 6
Competent defensively, but didn’t drive forward as much as we would hope

Goncalves 8
Reads the game well, used his speed and presence to good effect today

Bouzid 5
Not the dominating centre-back we hoped he would be. Less than impressive today.

Stewart 5
Our midfield toiled to get any domination today. A few good tackles and touches in the first half, but struggled in the second half. Not his worst game – but at least he didn’t get booked !!

Palazuelos 6
Didn’t impose himself the way has has done in the past.

Driver 4
Very disappointing performance. Almost didn’t look interested at times.

Obua 3
Awful !!

Suso 8
If the team could find a spark of confidence, he could be a real star this season. Good control and trickery today. A bit unlucky with the 2 chances today (brought down by Barr as he prepared to shoot in first half, then shot just wide under pressure in second half)

Nade 2
Awful !!

Black 2
Turning into a bit of a disappointment – but at least he didn’t get booked !!

Witteween 7
A decent 20 minutes actually. Won some headers, turned defenders a couple fo times, and had a shot on the turn saved right at the end.
No time to make an impact

Manager Rating
Csaba Laszlo was clearly frustrated (once again) at the inability to hit the target… but if he keeps playing an ineffectual Nade in preference to others like Glen and Mitteween, fans could soon lose patience with him.

Opponent Rating
Credit to Eddie May for shaking hands with every Hearts player at the end, as well as being obviously very happy with his own players.


6 Replies to “Hearts scrape dull 0-0 draw”

  • Where do you start? This was a truly dis-heartening game with sheer frustration being the only feeling this game produced for me. Nade was nothing. Again. Why do we persist with this clown. Hopefully he is jailed for not having a registration. Now for the real villian, Michael Stewart. Shocking, horrible and a disgrace. I’ve had enough of people defending him. His passes are all over the place. He can’t weigh a pass. Can’t organise a team. Has no discipline and hides from the ball. His positioning today was horrific. Countless times today did he sit on the halfway line and when he did move forward he was in the box while the defenders were passing it along the line. He needs to drop in to the acres of space that was left in the middle of Falkirks 5-man midfield. We need a player who can link midfield and our forwards and Obua certainly wasn’t filling that role. Did Obua win a header today apart from his sitter in the first 5?

    Questions have to be asked of Csaba’s formation now. Falkirk at home 4411. Aberdeen away 4411. St Johnstone away 4411. What will the formation be on Wednesday??? Come on Csaba let’s start to treat each game individually and try to expose weaknesses instead of sticking to the same old predictable formation and tactics. Today was horrific.

  • Good summary there, Dicksonium. I got a distinct feeling that some fans are losing patience with Csaba. Forget Romanov not making cash available to buy whoever….. there has to be something better that can be achieved with the current squad than what we’re seeing.

  • Sorry I know my comments are generally not looked upon favourably… But seriously am I reading these recent posts correctly? People are blaming Csaba now? Come on folks he has some real dross to work with and I know he has made some strange choices of late but we all know Romanov hasn’t allowed him to buy a decent striker and is showing no interest in the club. Okay this is normally good but when the manager needs a hand he’s not getting it and fans seem to be turning on him. I’m surprised he did wonders last year and now everyone is saying he’s a one trick pony? The guy has lost some serious players in the last 10 months and nothing has been brought in to fill the gap of any real note.
    I am completely surprised.

  • Dalien, people are blaming Csaba because the buck stops with the manager. Rightly or wrongly, that’s just the way it is in football. I do think he’s getting a bit of a rough deal (as is Stewart, another scapegoat)… HOWEVER… there are also clear cases where players are being continually picked despite a woeful lack of form (Nade, Obua…) and the rigidity of our system where we end up playing with two sitting midfielders at home to Falkirk. We all know the problems that Hearts have in terms of strike force, but there are things that Csaba could do and should be doing to at least give us a fighting chance of scoring. We need to a) start playing the youngsters more and b) start setting our team out to go for the win rather than simply avoid defeat.

  • Dalien – your comments are ALWAYS appreciated…. so please keep them coming (and that goes for all our contributors) !!

  • I’m blaming the players and the manager. Why is Csaba beyond reproach? He sticks with the same formation and tactics with whoever we play. He leaves players on for far too long and ultimately he chooses the team. Now to be honest I thought on Saturday that we had our strongest team out apart from Glen and Elliot as the manager chose to leave Glen on the bench. Wonders last year? We beat Dundee Utd in one of our last games the few matches before that we weren’t exactly great were we? Any way, onwards and upwards lets pull off a win at Celtic tomorrow.

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