With the manager turning 60 in 2 days time, he will have been happy with the present his team delivered today – a FOURTH successive 2-0 win. Mind you, for a lot of the first half it was the visitors who looked the livelier team.
Both Hearts goals were the kind that really delight a crowd. During one of Hearts attacks after 30 minutes, Rudi Skacel made a forward run at the corner of the penalty area on the left, taking a bouncing ball on his chest and volleying a brilliant lob-shot over keeper Cerny with that educated left foot. No wonder Rudi is a fans` favourite – the skill, vision and ability to execute something like this is beyond most players, so we`re really quite privileged to have the Czech in our team (hopefully for a long time to come).
The second goal came 7 minutes into the second half, when David Templeton received a rebound near the edge of the box and cleverly placed his right-foot shot in the “postage stamp”.
Hearts had started the second half strongly, and continued to have the bulk of possesion after the second goal. In the last 10 minutes however, Hamilton started to press more after bringing on the 2 Paixao twins – and they won a penalty when Palazuelos found himself on the wrong side of Flavio as he ran into the box and made a clumsy attempt to tackle him from the side. Booking for Ruben, and a chance for Hamilton to get back into the game – until Marian Kello made a fantastic save from Menisng`s decent attempt, diving to his left. Maybe the Jim Cruickshank tribute goalie jersey hanging from the net behind him was the inspiration – but at least Kello`s wonderful save put paid to any chance of a nail-biting finish to this match.
Among other incidents today was a super diving save by Kello at the edge of his box in the second half to prevent a lovely Hamilton move resulting in an excellent scoring opportunity for Casalinuovo.
I thought everyone in Hearts team played well, apart from Kyle. While there`s no doubt he puts in a huge amount of effort and his presence sometimes allows other forwards to find a bit of space, nothing really came off for him today. Sometimes he just seems a bit one-dimensional.
Next Sunday`s match at Fir Park will be a huge test for Hearts – how about another 2-0 win, guys ?