Date: 14th December 2010 at 10:47pm
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Although Hearts have a poor record at Fir Park in recent seasons, they deservedly came out on top tonight against managerless Motherwell. Eggert Jonsson and Ian Black were missing through illness, so Darren Barr and Ryan Stevenson came into the team and acquitted themselves well – especially in the 2nd half.

Hearts` best chance of the first half fell to Stephen Elliott, when a perfect Templeton cross from the left at knee height only needed to be prodded home – unfortunately, he managed to knock it over the bar. Real scoring chances were scarce, and although Motherwell had enjoyed more of the possession, they only threatened Marian Kello a couple of times. With 2 minutes of the first half left, great harrying by Kyle and Elliott on the right enabled the ball to be knocked into the middle where Templeton tried a great overhead kick from 12 yards out. The keeper parried it, and he would have grabbed it on the line if Reynolds hadn`t tried to kick the ball against him – which forced it over the line for a goal.

Unfortunately, the team were caught out 60 seconds later when a poor Zaliukas clearance fell to Gow who played a clever pass for Lasley to run on to and beat Kello from 12 yards. 1-1 at half-time.

Hearts came out stronger in the 2nd half, with Templeton heading a Kyle cross over the bar. Then Elliott should have put the visitors ahead in the 60th minute, after great work from Barr and Stevenson gave him a great shooting chance. Sadly, his shot came back off the bar – and he headed the rebound over.

Within a few minutes however, Hearts were back in front – some brilliant close control at speed by David Templeton provoked Stephen Craigan to clearly impede him inside the box, and referee O’Reilly correctly awarded the penalty. Kevin Kyle sent keeper Randolph the wrong way.

Craigan vehemently protested his innocence, but it was a typically cynical foul by the Motherwell captain – and the TV cameras showed quite clearly that he had brought Templeton down. 10 minutes later another great run from the wee man was halted by another cynical “brush across the heels” on the edge of the box – but this time, the referee chose to ignore what looked like a blatant foul.

Motherwell had a couple of late attempts to get a shot on goal from inside the Hearts box and it took some last-gasp defending to block their efforts. At one of them, Steve Jennings made too much of a complaint to the referee when Gow fell in the box, and he was shown a straight red card – possibly a bit harsh, I thought. The sending-off was too much of a handicap for the home side and Hearts confidently held out to record their 6th straight victory, although some fans will lament that fact that they didn`t record another clean sheet too.

Although Skacel was quieter than usual tonight, Kyle and Templeton were outstanding. As I mentioned in the last report, this current squad seem to have a great spirit and belief – and this breeds the sort of movement and passing which is very pleasing to watch.

This latest win brings us to within 3 points of 2nd-placed Celtic (although they have a game in hand). Personally, I hope fans don’t start expecting a 2nd place finish – for a start, there`s still more than half the matches left to play. At some stage we`ll probably start dropping points – so the cliché of “take each game as it comes” is likely to be the best approach for the time being.

Saturday`s game against Inverness will be another big test. The visitors have not lost an away game for over a year, and they have their own Templeton in the shape of Adam Rooney. Let`s hope for decent weather, and a sell-out crowd.

Well done Hearts !!


6 Replies to “Templeton shines as Hearts beat Motherwell 2-1”

  • Sky Sports are calling it a “three horse race” but then they are pillocks so there you go. Well done Hearts. Definitely rode our luck in the second half especially, the penalty looked soft to me (but I’ll happily take it) and what the straight red card for the Motherwell player was I’ll never know. Probably refused to take back what he had said about the ref’s mother. We didn’t play well (no pun intended), but a win’s a win and often that is the measure of a team. Lionel Messi: the Argentinian Templeton.

  • STV news sport showed very brief highlights tonight (really just the goals and the sending off) and the commentator said that Jennings was sent off for “touching the referee”?!

  • Disagree about the penalty, SJ – so many refs ignore that sort of thing, just because its in the box. They shouldn’t – a foul is a foul regardless. Craigan may well be used to getting away with these cynical tactics, but there’s no doubt he deliberately tripped Templeton. Can’t understand why the ref chose to ignore the later foul on Templeton (edge of the box admittedly). The only way to stamp out these “professional” fouls is to continually penalise them, surely. Yes, the sending off was strange – but then who knows what he said to the ref.

  • ‘Sky sports are pillocks’ is my new favourite quote of the day! I thought we were good tonight, if not as good as saturday, and against much superior opposition. Kyle was immense and won everything, the only downside of that though was every other attack in the first half especially was a lumped ball which relied on kyle knocking it down to scakel, temps etc. They obviously highlighted Rubens at LB as our weakness, and really tested him out, but particularly in the second i thought he was solid enough. I ******** believe how incensed the Well crowd were with the ref, i spotted two mistakes – not giving us a second penalty (or freekick if it was outside) and that red card which i agree seems harsh. Steven Elliott is lucky we didnt rue the missed chances, but all in all, a solid and very deserved 3 points. :o)

  • The good thing about this game is that we were able to cover for absences, dig a bit deeper …. and come away with the result. Not taking anything away from a superb victory over Aberdeen, but they really were quite hapless and being able to come away from a potentially tricky visit with 3 points is hugely satisfying. Very very early to start thinking about 3 horse race (“sky sports are pillocks”) but let’s revisit this come Feb/March. The sending off seems to be for something said rather than anything else.

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