We went down 2-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle in this Boxing Day afternoon encounter.
Missing Darian Mackinnon, James Keatings and Matt Kilgallon through injury, Hearts scored twice in the first half; we had Shaun Want red carded for two yellows in the second half, before Hearts also missed a penalty.
Accies media website reporter Mark Gillespie brings us the details from the capital…
Wednesday 26th December 2018 at3 pm
Heart of Midlothian 2 Hamilton Academical 0
We remain without a win in Gorgie since 1977, as first half strikes from Naismith and Djoum helped the hosts to a comfortable three points. Hearts even had the luxury of missing from the spot, as Accies struggled to find a way back into the game, having fallen behind to an early strike.
An already depleted Accies squad had to reshuffle things again as we lost Delphin Tshiembe to injury in the opening minutes. Shaun Want was then dismissed for a second bookable on 70 minutes and will miss Saturday’s Lanarkshire derby.
As the dust settles we remain four points behind Motherwell in tenth spot, and two ahead of St Mirren. It has been a challenging week as Martin Canning tries to patch together a side for the final match of 2018. He gave his thoughts post match.
“We came here without three of our most influential players- Matt, Darian and Keatsy so we were much weakened from such a positive result on Saturday.”
“With that in mind it was always going to be difficult here against a good team. But, we can defend both goals better. We made too many naïve mistakes.”
“The timing of the second goal hurt us, right before half time. But, I said to the boys I was pleased with the second half. It wasn’t for lack of effort. Up until Shaun was sent off there wasn’t much in it.”
“It was just a little of quality and naivety that has cost us today. But, we pick ourselves back up now for a big one against Motherwell.”
All in all we made four changes from the draw with Kilmarnock. Darian MacKinnon and James Keatings hadn’t recovered from injuries sustained in the match. Matt Kilgallon also picked up an injury as we reshuffled the defence, with Lenny Sowah starting on the bench. In came Shaun Want, Delphin Tshiembe, Scott Martin and Freddy Brustad.
Hearts made three changes from the weekend as Djoum returned from suspension for the hosts. There were also starts for Garuccio and Morrison as Craig Levein’s side sought a return to their early season form.
The key to that was Steven Naismith, and the Hearts striker was keen to make an impact in his first home start since returning from injury, as Hearts made all the early running.
Somehow he passed up a golden opportunity on three minutes, Olly Lee sweeping a low cross over to the back post from the right flank. Tynecastle rose to greet the opener but the diving header was just beyond Woods’s near post.
The hosts looked to capitalise as Accies made an enforced change, with Tshiembe sustaining a knee injury and withdrawn on nine minutes. Naismith was enjoying some space and again should have done better with a free header in the box from Callum Morrison’s delivery from the left.
But Hearts kept knocking on the door. Naismith turned provider, setting up Morrison on 16 minutes, a brave block by Lenny Sowah saving the day.
It only delayed the opener by a minute, Naismith again finding space and time just inside the Accies box to pick his spot and curl past Woods.
Accies dug in, trying to regroup, Hearts dominating the possession, and the home crowd expecting a second. It almost arrived as Naismith took a quick free kick on 31 minutes, putting Steven MacLean clean through, but firing over Gary Woods’ bar.
We had started to see more of the ball in the run up to the break, but the hosts grabbed the all important second on 43 minutes. Morrison swept another teasing cross in from the right flank, and the Accies defence couldn’t clear. The ball sat up perfectly for Djoum to blast low past Woods from six yards.
We started the second half better, but Hearts scented more blood in the second half. Accies struggled to clear their lines again on 58 minutes, and the ball broke to Michael Smith who fired just over the bar.
We looked to carry more of an attacking threat after the introduction of Rakish Bingham. But despite winning several corners we could test Doyle in the Hearts goal.
Instead Hearts should have been out of sight on 67 minutes, as Clare burst clear, only for Scott Martin to heroically block Djoum’s effort on the line.
We were down to 10 men three minutes later, with Want receiving a second caution for a tug on Jake Mulraney.
The Hearts sub then earned his side a debatable penalty, Ziggy Gordon adjudged to have handled his ball into the box on 76 minutes. But justice was perhaps done as Smith stepped up to rattle the bar from the spot.
Woods was called into action two minutes from time, tipping a powerful 20 yard effort from Olly Lee over the bar.
Hearts: Doyle, Smith, Haring (Bozanic, 87), Berra, Lee, Djoum (Mulraney, 75), Naismith, Garuccio, MacLean (Clare, 61), Godinho, Morrison; Subs Unused: Zlamal, Hughes, McDonald, Hickey
Hearts Goals: Naismith, 17, Djoum, 43
Hearts Cautions: Godinho, 26, Garuccio, 65
Accies: Woods, McGowan, McMann, Gordon, Tshiembe (Sowah, 9),Imrie (c), Miller (Bingham, 52) Taiwo, Want, Martin, Brustad (Boyd, 73); Subs Unused: Marsden, Gogic, Bloomfield, Monlouis
Accies Cautions: Want, 55
Red Card: Want 70 (second yellow)
Referee:Don Robertson; Assistants: Graeme Stewart and Gary Hilland 4th Official: Barry Cook