Hearts 2 - 0 St Johnstone: Godinho and Morrison net as Hearts go fifth

It might be too much to describe it as the rebirth of Hearts’ European hopes but the goal from Callum Morrison to secure all three points was the ideal way for the youngster to mark the imminent arrival of his first child.

Hearts' Marcus Godinho celebrates his goal. Pic: SNS/Craig Foy

It was also a perfect reminder of the day he clocked up 30 first-team appearances and finally earned passage into the main dressing room.

“Callum has been promising to score from those kind of positions and it was great for him,” said Levein of the starlet, who was sent on a substitute in the 81st minute as the team tried to build on their 1-0 advantage and get the three points needed to leapfrog St Johnstone and move into fifth place.

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“He has now played 30 times for the club so now he can officially go into the first team dressing room. That’s good news for him but not for the rest of the boys.

“They don’t get into the first team dressing room until they reach 30 appearances,” he added, revealing that it was a right that had to be earned by the young academy graduates. “You can call yourself a first team player at Hearts when they’ve played a lot of first team games, not when you’ve made one or two appearances.

“But it’s been a good day for us and his missus is expecting very soon so it’s been a good day for him. That will maybe help bring the baby on!”

But it was also a significant day for the man who had opened the scoring with a wonderful goal seven minutes into the second half, 21-year-old Marcus Godino. It was also his first goal for the club.

“The first goal was an unbelievable pass from John Souttar but Marcus showed great composure to bring the ball down - and then he panicked and just hit it, and it went in,” teased his boss, but in truth it was a far more accomplished finish than that.

The ball from Souttar, who looked to be back to his best after returning from his injury lay-off, was clipped over the Saints rearguard and the young Canadian brought it down beautifully before lashing it past Zander Clark from close range.

It was a lead thoroughly merited by the Gorgie side, who had taken a grip on the game early doors and refused to give their visitors any real say in proceedings.

After the midweek defeat to Dundee, it was the perfect pick me up for Hearts against a team with the best away record in the top flight and allowed them to close the gap on Rangers, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.

Tommy Wright’s men had not conceded a goal on their travels since their last trip to Tynecastle in September. Since then they have played 15 matches, home and away, and lost just three. But on a day that served as a homage to the Foundation of Hearts, the home side conjured up the best possible thank you for their fans, denying the Perth side any shots on target and swarming the away goal in a manner that could have reaped even greater goal reward.

Playing three at the back, the shape of the Hearts line-up, allowed them to dominate in midfield and allowed Sean Clare, Olly Lee and Arnaud Djoum to all get up in support of Steven Naismith, with the former having a few chances to net, while the width offered by Jake Mulraney and Godinho eventually forced the away side to switch up their own formation, bringing Danny Swanson and Michael O’Halloran on for defender Liam Gordon and defensive midfielder Ross Callachan. It was hoped it would give them greater creativity but while their possession stats rose marginally, there was still no-one capable of slicing Hearts open,

Instead it was Hearts who peppered Clark’s goal, denied by the post on two occasions as both Mulraney and Clare missed by millimetres.

But while the lead remained a single goal there was some concern. That was put to bed in the 90th minute, though, when Naismith broke from his own half and slipped the ball inside to the underlapping Demi Mitchell, he made a beeline for the box before squaring for Lee, who then slipped the ball out into the path of Morrison who slammed his angled drive into the back of the net.

“It’s happened twice here now that we’ve looked lethargic and second to everything. You’ve got to compete to win football games and we didn’t,” said Wright. “Although Hearts were good, we made it all too easy for them. It probably wasn’t until about 70 minutes that we started to pass it a bit better. It was a disappointing afternoon but we’ll learn from it and move on again.”