London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Wed 05 Jul 2006 Lask Linz 1 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Anthony Haggerty auth-> Dietmar Drabek
[M Muhlbauer 62]
12 of 019 Mirsad Beslija 83 F A


By Anthony Haggerty


HEARTS boss Valdas Ivanauskas last night insisted signing a central defender is his No.1 priority after watching his side draw with Austrian outfit Lask Linz.

And Ivanauskas reckons his strikers must also do better as the unconvincing Jambos only managed to salvage a draw when the ball home with only seven minutes to go.

in pre-season friendlies but couldn't hide his disappointment with several members of his first-team squad after such a lacklustre display against the Second Division side.

He said: "Results are not important on this tour as it is clear we have to work on our fitness levels.

"It is not easy after just two weeks' preparation and I am happy with a lot of players but I was unhappy with some others. I think bringing in a defender has to be the priority."

Last season's SPL runners-up began their Champions League countdown with this low-key affair against the Austrian minnows in front of around 300 fans.

Hearts lined up with Steve Banks in goal in place of Scotland keeper Craig Gordon, with fringe player Nerijus Barasa and young winger Andrew Driver also starting.

But it was the home team who were first to threaten when Ivica Vastic fired a 25-yard free-kick wide after just four minutes.

Edgaras Jankauskas and Driver combined to great effect on the half hour but the Lithuanian's header from a perfect cross was inches wide of the target.

A minute before the break, Vastic lashed in a fierce angled drive that had to be parried over for a corner.

The deadlock was finally broken on the 62nd minute as Linz carved their way through the Jambos defence with a series of neat exchanges which ended with Mario Muhlbauer nipping in front of Christophe Berra and slotting home.

Hearts pressed for an equaliser and Calum Elliot's neat control and volley almost restored parity.

Seven minutes from time it fell to sub Beslija to spare Hearts' blushes, knocking in an Elliot cross from two yards out.

The poor result leaves Ivanauskas with a huge amount of work to prepare his squad for when the action starts for real come July 26.

He said: "We need to get fitter quickly but we must remember it is our first pre-season game.

"There is a lot of work ahead of us before the Champions League qualifiers."

HEARTS - Banks, Neilson, Pressley (Fyssas 45), Berra, Wallace, Mikoliunas (Beslija 45), Barasa (Brellier 45), Aguiar (Cesnauskis 45), Driver, Jankauskas (Makela 45), Elliot.

Taken from the Daily Record

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