Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh
7th November 2015.
Hearts 2 Hamilton Academical 0
Two first half goals from Prince Buaben and Arnoud Djoum were enough to give Hearts a victory, and keep the pressure on leaders Celtic. Despite going down 0-2, Accies retained that important sixth place with 18 points, the same total as Ross County and Dundee in fifth and seventh respectively.
We made five changes to the team that started against St. Johnstone at NDP the previous week. Back in the starting line up were Greg Docherty, Carlton Morris and Chris Turner, back from suspension were Lucas Tagliapietra and Darian MacKinnon. Grant Gillespie was suspended, while Ali Crawford aggravated an injury on Friday. For Hearts, Blazej Augustyn and Morgaro Gomis were starting in place of Juwon Oshaniwa and Danny Swanson.
Due to the heavy rain in Edinburgh, the pitch was subjected to an early inspection by referee Bobby Madden, and although the pitch proved slippy at times, it was fit for purpose. Amongst the crowd were international managers Gordon Strachan and Michael O’Neill. Before the match started The Royal Scots Pipe Band played before a lone piper played a lament as the teams and officials lined up for the minute’s silence for Remembrance Day.
This encounter wasn’t quite as physical as the match back in August, but still managed to produce seven bookings in all, with five for us and two for the hosts. Hearts had the lion’s share of possession throughout the 90 minutes and were also the more productive in front of goal, with six shots on target compared to only the one from Accies.
After a start that saw a young ball boy slip and get treatment after striking his head, Nicholson stormed forward and sent wide to Gomis, the Senegalese midfielder crossed into the penalty area for Arnoud Djoum to head wide of the back post. Hearts applied pressure to Hamilton in and around the penalty area, winning themselves a couple of free kicks in promising positions, fortunately wasting both.
Accies had to wait until the 22nd minute of play before testing the Hearts defence, when we got a free kick 25 yards out from Neil Alexander’s goal. Jesus Garcia Tena’s solid strike took a deflection and sailed just wide of the post, Imrie’s corner was sent in and Lucas Tagliapietra ran in to head wide of the near post.
Then with 26 minutes played, Prince Buaben broke the deadlock with a low driven shot that crept past Michael McGovern and just inside the post from a full thirty yards. The goal seemed to surprise the Accies defence and the Ghanaian, who had just scored his first of the season, 1-0.
Big Lucas then had another chance to show his aerial threat, when heading on goal from an Imrie free kick, unfortunately Alexander managed to get down and push the ball out for a corner kick. Imrie then turned provider once more, when he sent the corner kick into the penalty area for Tagliapietra to shave the cross bar from 12 yards.
The game was hard going for both sets of spectators, the only thing keeping them on the edge of their seats, was their shared sense of injustice at some of the meaty challenges. The Hearts fans sense of injustice was soon to be forgotten, when the ball was played in for Osman Sow to tee up Arnoud Djoum and place past a scrambling McGovern, 2-0.
With the start of the second half, Chris Turner had been replaced by Louis Longridge, both he and Lucas Tagliapietra had been playing close to the edge despite both being shown yellow inside the first fifteen minutes. Some of the challenges in the game produced winces from those watching, and a sense of wonder that we still had 11 v 11. Credit to the referee for that.
The match came alive again in the 52nd minute, when Sam Nicholson surged up the left hand side and sent a rocket across the face of our goalmouth. Luck was on our side, as all that was needed was a touch for the third, Djoum raced in and failed to connect by the narrowest of margins from point blank range.
Hearts then won themselves a free kick 20 yards from the Accies goal, Calum Paterson curled the ball round the wall and forced Michael McGovern to produce another of his quality saves. Then a moment of controversy, when Carlton Morris went down inside the Hearts penalty area, the Referee initially pointed to the spot but then showed Carlton a yellow for apparent simulation and gave Hearts the free kick.
Hearts finished the stronger of the two, McGovern denying Osman Sow from the edge of the penalty area, and then from the corner, Morris cleared off the goal line from an Igor Rossi header. Buaben then laid on for Sow but his six yard shot was again cleared after a goalmouth scramble.
Gramoz Kurtaj sent the ball into the penalty area from a corner kick, then big Lucas, who had seen plenty of action at both ends of the pitch, raced in and headed wide of the back post. Then just as the final whistle was about to be blown, Paterson sent the ball in for Gavin Reilly to shoot on goal from eight yards, but once again, McGovern was there to usher the ball over the cross bar and out of play.
Accies manager Martin Canning said afterwards “It’s a difficult one for us, I think we concede poor goals, there wasn’t a lot in the game. I think first half they probably edged and second half we probably edged it and didn’t create enough clear cut opportunities to take anything from the game. I’d liked to have carved out a few more chances than we did, and we had a good shout for a penalty that was unfortunate again for us.”
Striker Carlton Morris said “Obviously it’s a wet rainy day and that’s what we’re used to, usually we battle it out and try to grind out a result but unfortunately it wasn’t the case today. Two sloppy goals and we struggled to get back into the game into the game at Tynecastle against a strong Hearts side.”
On being asked about the physical side of the game, Ziggy Gordon jokingly said “It was the first time that I’ve played at Tynecastle and I was told before the game that it was going to be a nervy place, everyone’s going to be a bit on edge, so it’s important that you get the first tackle in, and I think the boys took that literally. I think they did too, but I love that contest and that’s what I’m all about and I really enjoyed it.”
Ziggy went on “Every game, we need to be at the top of our game to win matches, we maybe don’t have that luxury of having three or four players that you can just get the ball too and put it in the goal easily. We know that we need to be at the top of our game and they worked so tirelessly today, and it’s so difficult to come here and get a result. I feel that up until the goal, it was just one team that was going to score and that was us, unfortunately the keeper makes a great save and one go past the post from big Lucas from a corner, and when you come to one of these grounds, you need a bit of luck.”
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Augustyn, Gomis, Buaben, Sow, Nicholson (Swanson 81), Djoum (Pallardo 67), Rossi, Delgado (Reilly 67), McGhee. Subs Unused: Hamilton, King, Smith, Zanatta.
Goals: Buaben 26, Djoum 36.
Cautions: Delgado, Gomis.
Accies: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Imrie (Nade 75), Turner (Longridge 45), Kurtaj, Morris, MacKinnon, Docherty, Garcia Tena (Sendles-White 36), Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, D’Acol, Redmond, Boyd.
Cautions: Turner, Tagliapietra, MacKinnon, Sendles-White, Morris.
Referee: Bobby Madden Assistants: Alan Mulvanny & Gary Hilland 4th Official: Kevin Graham.
Photos click here
Next up for us is a Sunday live tv (BT Sport) home fixture v Aberdeen on 22nd November, 1230pm kick off