Hearts 1† Rangers 4† Ė† I Wish I Hadnít Bothered,† writes Chief Grouser
This was a calamitous display. We had to sit and suffer, and I bloody well object to that.† God, Rangers were dreadful throughout this game Ė so what were we?† Hearts enjoyed all the luck we might possibly wish for and gave it all back in spades.† All we got out of this game was a sense of foreboding that Niemi canít be long for our world.† I can only hope the second goal was his fault Ė it might put off prospective buyers.†† He seems to have about as much idea of building a wall as I have.††
Nothing good came from this game.† Usually I can twist the barenaked facts to some advantage, but not this time.†† For once there could be no sense of superiority to the low-life singing their triumphalist crap in defiance of their utter secondbestness throughout the season.† How can you compare yourself to such a tribe who worship a pigís head on a stick - or in this case Lorenzo Amoruso?†† Good sweet Jesus, is there nothing this man can do that will turn them against him?†† No mistake is unmakeable in Lorenzoís Football Lexicon.†† And heís got hair like a girlís.† Yet they love him even more than we do, and God knows weíve got just and reasonable cause.†
Notionally, this was Heartsí best XI out there.†† I think it would fare much better against a lesser team with less structure than Rangers, but confidence and determination is a big factor, and we saw precious little of either.† The opening was encouraging enough, as Rangers simply could not afford to lose this game and stayed compact, relying on breaking quickly from the midfield, and having lost a goal through the one bit of bad luck Hearts suffered all afternoon (wish a splash of carelessness into the cocktail)† they were chasing the game earlier than was preferable.†
Levein at least had the† bottle to make some tactical substitutions at half-time, but having been gifted an equaliser Hearts threw it away. As soon as the extra man advantage was lost when olí Pressley busted apart like a plane with metal fatigue, the absence of Boyack and Cameron exposed Makel as A Man Without A Plan.†† Skill without intelligence is not enough.†† He doesnít have a big game mentality.
The problem with Adam isnít going to go away.† Hearts lack natural width, but this would be countered by Adam doing what he used to Ė leading the line, running down the channels, creating space behind him, giving options.† But heís not fit, his touch is poor and heís lost confidence in his own ability, which makes ten thousand and one of us.† And without a pivotal centre-forward the rest of the Hearts jigsaw simply wonít fall into place.††† Possibly next season we shall have to risk positional suicide and play both Kirk and Wales† but I suspect neither will profit from the otherís presence.† Trying to find a structure that involves Juanjo has been hard enough, unless he has a free role with Kirk or Wales the lone man up front.† But you canít see a lot of goals coming that way and the closer that Kirk gets to the goalposts the better. †
The little bit of moonlight that shone through the fog involved Tomaschek who had a strong game and was let down by the overall poorness of quality;† and McKenna may have come of age in this game.†† Heís looked off the pace until now, being used to playing for Laker Airbus or Kickers Offenbach in Germany, but he carried the ball confidently and had a couple of decent pops at goal with both feet.
Severinís never been quick but heís not back to any kind of fitness and his both his touch and his reading of the game was rusty and he regularly gave the ball away for both reasons.† In fact, giving the ball away was a fault line that ran the length of the pitch.† Iím going round telling people that Hearts havenít really a proper structure but have players who will have enough footballing ability to beat lesser sides, so perhaps this isnít the game to make a longterm judgement.† However, Craig Levein started his Hearts managerial career with a defeat against Rangers and this makes it 0 out of 2.† I hope heís learning.†
Oh and finally, a word for the referee, Mr Hugh Dallas of Motherwell.† He was appalling.