Hearts 4 vs 1 QOTS - 07/12/14
May 24, 2017
Character to come out of a sticky spell to win well in the end? CHECK
Win another game without a string of first team players? CHECK
Win in spite of another questionable decision by the officials? CHECK
Pressure? WHAT PRESSURE?
There was a more relaxed “family” atmosphere as I headed the short distance from my Gorgie flat to Tynecastle. Copious amounts of free bread were being handed out to bemused but grateful supporters as we squeezed our way through the main stand turnstiles to take our seats. The visitors brought a very respectable and noisy following with them and they were given plenty encouragement to be in fine voice given the positive performance from their team in the first 20 minutes. It was clear from the start that James Fowler had dispensed with the defensive minded set-up that successfully earned Queens a point at Easter Road last month but would not have earned them many friends.
Hearts had also tried to start brightly and good link-up play between Patterson and Buchanan nearly provided the first goal of the game on 13 minutes. Buchanan was one of three changes which saw the injured Holt, suspended Gomis and unlucky Brad Mckay make way for Buchanan, Buaben and Danny Wilson. The Captain had been trying to mix up his distribution and it was one of his less impressive efforts that led to the first goal. A searching long ball seemed to catch Durnan slightly under the ball and he could only head the ball into the path of James Keatings who lashed the ball home with great technique that was warmly appreciated by a home support who have been forced to watch their fair share of shot shy frontmen over the last decade or so.
That goal sparked Hearts into life and it should have been two only a few minutes later. A slight tussle in the box resulted in the softest of penalties being awarded. Prince Buaben stepped up confidently and was unlucky to see his effort strike the outside of the keepers right hand post. That near miss didn’t seem to knock Hearts off their stride as they continued to press well all over the park, Jamie Walker in particular showing an attitude and fitness level rarely seen under previous regimes at the club. Walker and Paterson both came close as the first half drew to a close. As pleasing as it was to be a goal up at the break, you knew that Queens were going to continue to make a good fight of it in the second half until we scored the killer second goal.
James Fowler was quick to realise that the pace of this young Hearts side was proving too much for Championship Manager 2001 favourite Mark Kerr and made the decision to withdraw him at half time. This proved to be an inspired move as Queens started to move the ball about quicker and had the Champions elect on the back foot with McShane and Russell in particular standing out during this spell. The aforementioned Russell would level the score with a well executed penalty after a very debatable penalty was awarded in the 55th minute before sub Scott Robinson would make a timely clearance off the line moments after replacing the youngster Buchanan.
The introduction of Robinson proved key as it enabled Buaben to push forward and help dictate proceedings further up the park and provide support for the tiring Keatings who was showing the effects of the bug he had been trying to shake off all week. The change was another indication that Robbie Neilson is very proactive with substitutions rather than reactive and has already shown a similar trait to Craig Levein in terms of his awareness of when changes are needed to be made during a football match.
The tide was beginning to shift back in the home side’s favour and soon after a tempting cross from Eckersley, the resulting corner from Keatings would kindly ricochet off the head of Danny Wilson, take a nick off the post and into the back of the net for 2-1. I doubt I’ve celebrated a goal like that this season bar the Ozturk strike at Easter Road due to the significance and timing of the goal. For me that goal was another sign that this Hearts team have the stomach to go the distance this season.
That goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the away side and their eagerness to get back level again would leave gaps for Buaben and Eckersley to exploit with two well taken goals. It was especially pleasing to see Eckersley get the reward for a string of solid displays since his arrival.
In the end a slightly flattering scoreline in a very enjoyable encounter that highlighted the footballing capabilities of the impressive men from Dumfries who have a couple of ready made SPL stars in Holt & McShane.
MOTM – Keatings – put in a great shift and has superb movement off the ball to add to his sweet left peg.
Bit of trivia – Hearts defenders have contributed 12 goals this season (6 players on 2 goals apiece)
Alexander – 7
Patterson – 7
Eckersley – 7
Wilson – 6
Ozturk – 6
King – 7
Walker – 8
Pallardo – 7
Buaben – 7
Buchanan – 6
Keatings – 8