From the Hearts archives: Elvis has left the building . .

THE unsavoury departure of captain Steven Pressley from Tynecastle was counter-balanced by something of a minor renaissance on the field of play.

• Andrius Velicka celebrates scoring Hearts' third goal with Edgaras Jankauskas

This victory at least supplied some evidence that things were starting to click in a footballing context, despite internal political battles at Hearts.

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Pressley had left never to return, punished for speaking out against the lack of discipline and stability within his club.

With him had gone any right of free speech but his former colleagues at least proved against Motherwell that they could operate in a manner which is silently efficient. Vladimir Romanov would have beamed with delight.

From three matches, Hearts secured two away draws and this convincing home victory. Whilst this game was not totally symbolic of the team's true potential, Valdas Ivanauskas and his charges should be credited for going about their business trenchantly in the absence of their skipper.

Furthermore, the often-derided Lithuanian contingent in the squad fully justified their selections against Motherwell.

So, an all-round good day for Romanov. Five Lithuanians began the match in maroon for the first time, and to a man they performed competently. In some cases excellently. But each was usurped by the rampant Bruno Aguiar, who thrived in the advanced midfield role in the absence of the suspended Paul Hartley.

Aguiar and others stepped up to the mark and at times overwhelmed Motherwell with their attacking approach. Indeed, the difference in Aguiar when he allowed greater freedom was notable. The diminutive Portuguese is far less effective when deployed as a holding player in front of the defence. "Bruno was special," said Ivanauskas. "He was a leader on the pitch, he scored goals. I said I wanted to find a winning side, I want stability, I want 15 to 18 players for the next hard weeks."

Ivanauskas had been denied Pressley's services for the future following a Saturday evening announcement that the defender had parted company with Hearts - or been kicked out for having a backbone, whichever way you wish to interpret the situation.

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The defence didn't look unduly perturbed without him as Marius Zaliukas and Ibrahim Tall marshalled in Pressley's absence. That said, they were seldom tested by an insipid Motherwell attack. Nerius Barasa and Saulius Mikoliunas had to endure jeers from a minority of home supporters as the pre-match teams were announced, with Edgaras Jankauskas and Andrius Velicka joining Zaliukas to complete the five-strong Lithuanian group. However, come the end, all the Lithuanians were receiving deserved applause.

But some were not so forgiving. A banner unfurled in the Roseburn Stand read: "Romanov, you are breaking our Hearts."

Pressley's captain's armband was graciously accepted by Craig Gordon, the logical choice with Paul Hartley suspended and Robbie Neilson relegated to the substitutes' bench. The match began against the statistical backdrop of no player except those from Lithuania having scored a goal for Hearts in some 13-and-a-half hours of football. That fact, however, was soon put to bed. In the ninth minute, Takis Fyssas sauntered past Neil McCann to take a pass from the Scot and competently dispatch the ball into the net off Colin Meldrum's left-hand post. Motherwell were initially slow to respond but their first attack saw David Clarkson break free of Zaliukas, and his cross was poked into the net by Richie Foran from close range. It was to be the visitors' only shot on target.

Hearts were gifted the lead when Paul Quinn scored an own goal via an Aguiar free-kick after 55 minutes and, two minutes later, they constructed a superb third goal. Aguiar's incisive pass sent Velicka in behind the centre-backs and the Lithuanian latched on to the ball and calmly lofted it over Meldrum from 18 yards.

Then, just when it seemed Aguiar's afternoon couldn't be more complete, he struck another quite sublime free-kick from 25 yards that rendered Meldrum helpless.