Hearts 2-0 St Johnstone: New-look Hearts appear every bit as accomplished as last season
ONE returns from exile and the other returns to form. John Sutton and David Templeton provided the goals in the 2-0 victory over St Johnstone yesterday, but they also provided real hope for the season.
MAN OF THE MATCH
David Templeton (Hearts) Ran at defenders and worked hard. Got the goal his play deserved.
The announcer was keen for fans to get behind Jambo Eilidh Child when she competes at the Olympics today.
Given the way the club had finished the previous term, the mood was buoyant as they raised the curtain in the new campaign.
The Scottish Cup was paraded prior to kick-off and the punters who had turned out in force were obviously not done celebrating that prized victory over their rivals, with chants of “we only won 5-1” filling the air. The players reacted positively.
Had it not been for the goal-line heroics of Callum Davdson they could have been 2-0 up within the first 16 minutes. In the tenth minute Templeton had won a corner and when it was drilled in by Andy Driver, Ryan McGowan’s header looked a cert to open the scoring. Davidson, though, was not willing to concede that early, performing acrobatics on the line to clear the effort.
Six minutes later and Templeton was again giving the visiting defence a torrid time, charging into the box and tempting them into a rash tackle. They managed to resist that urge, but as he danced through them, he played in Driver. From close range, though, the winger was defied by the experienced St Johnstone full-back, who had read the danger and got in another goal-line block.
It was the kind of opening Hearts will have hoped for. After a summer spent waving off key first team players, the focus had switched to the newbies who have been charged with helping the club build on last season’s league form. With Jamie Hamill and Danny Grainger still short of fitness new manager John McGlynn gave 17-year-old Callum Paterson and 18-year-old Kevin McHattie their competitive starting debuts and
neither were overawed.
As part of the reshuffle McGowan was moved into the centre of the park although St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas is adamant that he should have lasted no longer than the first couple of minutes after he challenged Callum Davidson. “From where I was standing it was a blatant elbow. For me they are jaw-breakers, the kind of challenge we are trying to get out of the game. Callum Davidson is very lucky.”
If that annoyed the visiting contingient, they were even more narked when they were the ones reduced to ten men after Gregory Tade raised a hand to Andy Webster in the 37th minute. No-one in their ranks were disputing that decision, but they were lamenting the lack of consistency from the officials.
“He has raised his hands and no matter what you cannot do that,” said Lomas of Tade’s red card. “So I have no complaints about the sending off but Ryan McGowan should have been off before him.”
By then Hearts were already ahead. Templeton was again at the heart of it, showing quick feet and a determination to get into the box in the 30th minute, where he was felled by Dave Mackay. Sutton was the man who slotted the penalty away.
St Johnstone responded positively to their predicament, showing guts and guile as they tried to get back on level terms throughout the second half, having already sacrificed Paddy Cregg to throw on Rowan Vine, another striker. They tested Hearts, but even with the youngsters standing guard they did not allow the guests a way through and eventually started pressing further up the park themselves in search of a goal to seal the victory. That came in the 82nd minute and it was the goal Templeton’s performance merited. Another ambitious foray, he cut inside the defenders on the edge of the box and curled a beautiful right foot shot past Alan Mannus.
It was a bright start to the season and sets them up perfectly for their first derby of the campaign.
“It’s a 2-0 win at home to St Johnstone so we’ve got to be happy with that. We kept a clean sheet, scored two goals, it was an entertaining game. It’s nice to go down to Easter Road with three points and we sold our allocation of tickets out in no time at all. Hearts fans will be in great voice and we hope to have them continuing to sing throughout the 90 minutes and long after.
“But I’m not daft and it’s a new season and they’ll look to respond to things that happened last season.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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