From the archive: Hearts 1 - 0 Kilmarnock - The Scotsman, 29 October, 1962
THE wonder of this very fine League Cup final, in which Hearts won the trophy for the fourth time in nine years, is that so many people so much further away than a very good referee, Tom Wharton, could see so much better than he.
And so, according to where their sympathies lay, they argue bitterly that it was a goal or not a goal when Frank Beattie headed the ball over the line in the last minute, apparently to give Kilmarnock an equalising goal.
Beattie headed the ball cleanly, say Kilmarnock sympathisers. They are right. He flicked it in with his hands, say Hearts followers and even some of their players. They are wrong.
The referee, of course, according to rule, cannot explain or comment, which is a pity, but truth will out and, in this case, it is that when Beattie rose to head the ball, his arms were raised. He headed it cleanly but it struck one of his raised arms before going into the net. That is the explanation, unofficial but reliable, of what happened. All must agree that it was a prompt, courageous decision by a referee who was having a good game. When he made it, he was in the middle of the play and he did not hesitate.
Kilmarnock were not runners-up solely because of this controversial decision. They went a long way towards losing the tie when they lost Davie Sneddon last week through injury. They went further along the way when they set Pat O’Connor to mark Willie Hamilton, Hearts’ Sneddon.
O’Connor’s attacking usefulness was thus reduced and the forward line, already without Sneddon, became one which frothed spectacularly but had little substance. Hugh Brown and Bertie Black, on the right, were fast but fluffy, Brian McIlroy on the left wing was just as light, Jackie McInally had weight but was clumsy and he was injured early on. They were left with Andy Kerr as the potential goalscorer and more than that was needed to disturb Hearts’ good defence.
Perhaps Kilmarnock were wise to worry about Hamilton. He was the forward who could hold the ball, the one who could bring subtlety and a touch of the unexpected to his play. He, in fact, was the great difference between the teams, the influence which Kilmarnock lost when Sneddon dropped out.
The first time O’Connor left him was in the 25th minute. He was drawn upfield in an attacking move that broke down. The ball was cleared to Hamilton, who was unmarked. He worked his way to the bye-line, beating Jim Richmond and Jackie McGrory, and then clipped the ball so precisely into Norrie Davidson’s path that the centre could hardly have missed scoring.
He was always liable to repeat such a goal-making manoeuvre. Kilmarnock could make openings, but they were the result of speed work and consequently had to be finished with more hurry and therefore much less accuracy than when Hamilton wrought his more leisurely depredations.
Hearts were a more complete team than Kilmarnock. There was little between them in defence. Gordon Marshall and Sandy McLaughlan both had their great moments and both sets of backs were without flaw. Perhaps of the young centre-halves, Roy Barry and McGrory, Barry was the surer. He is a young man who is improving rapidly.
John Cumming and Billy Higgins, Hearts’ wing halves, had more attacking worth than O’Connor and Beattie, because of the inhibiting effect of Hamilton on Kilmarnock’s right half, but, at forward, Hearts had it.
It was not so much in cleverness and speed that they were the superior, but they had men like Danny Paton and Willie Wallace and Davidson, who could go into a tackle and come out with the ball, who could challenge defenders and prevent them coming through. They had strength that the Kilmarnock forwards could not match.
Hearts could be faulted late in the second half for showing such anxiety to hold a slender lead that they dropped into defence and allowed the Kilmarnock wing halves to come up and add their weight to attack. Because of this arose the “was it a goal” incident, and indeed Hearts might have lost a late goal.
Hearts, although a team laden with experience, are still one finding their feet this season, and maybe unable yet to believe that they are so much better than last season. There are many who will tell them with authority that when they play attacking football they are difficult to beat. That is why the Scottish League Cup is back at Tynecastle.
Hearts: Marshall, Polland, Holt, Cumming, Barry, Higgins, Wallace, Paton, Davidson, Willie Hamilton, Johnny Hamilton.
Kilmarnock: McLaughlan, Richmond and Watson, O’Connor, McGrory and Beattie, Brown, Black, Kerr, McInally, McIlroy.
Referee: T Wharton (Glasgow).
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