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Accies 0-3 Hearts, 24th January

Web reporter Martin McConnell gives his take on Wednesday’s home defeat by Hearts

Ladbrokes Premiership

At New Douglas Park

Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 7.45pm.

Hamilton Academical 0 Heart of Midlothian 3

After a drab sixty minutes, when it looked as if the outcome would come down to the odd goal. Hearts punished us for three  errors that won’t make for comfortable viewing when the highlights are watched back. After failing to impress even the most ardent of their travelling support, the mistakes led to goals from Callachan, Milinkovic and Zanatta that sent Hearts home with another three points.

A disappointed Martin Canning said afterwards, “I thought we were the better team up until the hour. It was the same old same old just now, crazy mistakes, crazy mistakes. It’s almost hard to believe that you can make four mistakes as we’ve made in the last two games. It’s baffling, but that’s where we are, and we need to make sure we get our head down and work through it.

“It’s a hard one because like you say, with an hour gone I thought we were going to win the game. I wasn’t even thinking about taking a point, I was thinking it was a good opportunity to win the game and was looking to bring on Rojano. He wasn’t fit enough to start the game, but I felt that he could give me a good 20, 25 minutes. I’m thinking, right, when the time comes we can get him on and push to win the game.

Then all of a sudden you find yourself two down, then the third goal is just crazy as well. Just individual mistakes. I spent a long time last week just going through the goals that we’ve conceded this season, to see what we could do to try to tighten up a wee bit. When you look back, quite a lot of them are individual errors and it’s costing us just now.”

The manager made two changes from the weekend cup exit, with new boy Marios Ogkmpoe, signed and confirmed just before the teamlines were due in, starting up front in place of Rakish Bingham who was injured, Danny Redmond in place of Massimo Donati and a midfield still without the injured Ali Crawford and Ibrox bound Greg Docherty. Hearts made four changes from the Edinburgh derby, as Hughes, Djoum, Milinkovic and Isma made way for Cowie, Callachan, Moore and Irving.

Accies were without a win in nine games against the Jambos, and started the sharper of the sides, with David Templeton keen to get on the score sheet against his former club. The Accies striker snuck in behind the Hearts rear-guard after only two minutes, with McLaughlin alert to rush out and clear the danger.

It was about all either keeper had to do in a cagey opening 45. New boy Ogkmpoe almost brought things to life with some decent touches, sliding Redmond in on goal on 15 minutes. But his shot was tame, and McLaughlin again gathered easily.

Hearts weren’t offering much in the way of an attacking threat at the other end, as both sides toiled for the remainder of the half. A snap chance fell to Templeton on the edge of the box on 35 minutes from Ogkmpoe’s knock down, but the shot drifted harmlessly wide.

Templeton finally made McLaughlin work a minute from the end of a largely forgettable opening period, with a volley that was tipped around the post. Accies had just about shaded it in terms of chances, but surely things could only get better in the second half?

The visitors certainly looked more up for it, carving out their first opening of the match with five minutes played. Randall’s driving run down the right flank found Souttar inside the box, but Gogic got in front of the shot with Mitchell’s effort from the rebound again blocked to safety.

Only a mistake looked likely to break this stalemate, and sadly Accies were once again their own worst enemy, as Hearts opened the scoring. Gogic should have been stronger in shepherding a ball out for a goal kick or clearing for a throw in, but the ever-persistent Steven Naismith nicked the ball, squared for Callachan at the far post for the easiest of finishes.

It was a morale sapper for Accies at this stage and Hearts looked more confident than at any stage of the game, with sub Milinkovic and Naismith finding more space in and around the Accies box. Hamilton tried an attacking change, throwing Rojano up front alongside Ogkmpoe, but almost straight away the visitors all but wrapped up the points on 72 minutes.

It was a floated ball over the top by Andy Irving into a gap on the left-hand side which caught out the Accies defence. With no flag for offside, Milinkovic found himself in yards of space to calmly roll the ball under the advancing Woods.

Hearts looked buoyant and Accies simply ran out of ideas. Number three arrived a few minutes from time, as the impressive Naismith dispossessed Scott McMann and helped Milinkovic to set up sub Zanatta to volley home at the far post.

Accies: Woods, McMann, Tomas, Imrie (c), Redmond (Rojano, 71), Gogic, Templeton, MacKinnon, Lyon, Ferguson, Ogkmpoe Subs Unused: Fulton, Hughes, Tierney, Want, Cunningham, Kozoronis.

Cautions: Gogic.

Hearts: McLaughlin, Souttar, Berra, Naismith, Cowie, Randall, Callachan, Mitchell, Moore, Irving, Cochrane (Djoum, 45) Subs Unused: Hamilton, Smith, Hughes, Milinkovic, Zanatta, McDonald.

Goals: Callachan, Milinkovic, Zanatta.

Referee: Nick Walsh Assistants: Dougie Potter & Joe Lawson 4th Official: Colin Steven.

Attendance: 2081.

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