London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2007-08--> All for 20080122
<-Page <-Team Tue 22 Jan 2008 Motherwell 1 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Stephen Frail <-auth David Mccarthy auth-> Stuart Dougal
[R McCormack pen 22]
8 of 011 ----- SC A

Motherwell 1-0 Hearts

Jan 23 2008 By David Mccarthy

HE may not be wanted at Hampden but Mark McGhee might still end up at the National Stadium come May.

And you know what, nobody would deserve it more.

There is a long way to go in the Scottish Cup, of course, but McGhee's Motherwell made the last 16 last night by disposing of Hearts in this fourth-round replay and with Dundee to follow at home on February 3, the business end of this competition beckons.

The manager had learned earlier the dream of managing his country is over but Scotland's loss is Motherwell's gain and his players made sure his day got a whole lot better.

McGhee has guided his side away from an emotional abyss that opened in front of them after Phil O'Donnell's death last month. He has thrown his arm around the young men in his charge and got them back to work and even smiling again.

None of that seems to matter to the men picking the new Scotland manager but an ability to produce teams capable of playing the football Motherwell have produced this season should.

This tie wasn't a classic but McGhee's men played well in the first half, deservedly went a goal up through Ross McCormack's 21st-minute penalty, then showed real resilience to repel Steve Frail's team after the break.

It wasn't pretty at times but Motherwell, who came back from 2-0 down in the first game, prevailed to the delight of the majority in an 8300 crowd.

The Motherwell fans who flocked through the gates would have spared a thought for O'Donnell before this their first game at Fir Park since the tragic events of December 29.

McGhee stuck with 10 of the 11 who had lost at St Mirren, the only alteration being Marc Fitzpatrick in for Steven McGarry who is ill. Hearts, too, made a change from the weekend with Saulius Mikoliunas coming into midfield for Andy Driver.

The Jambos had a healthy support with them and the match was held up for 10 minutes to allow everyone in.

These teams had served up an epic at Tynecastle and although the 2-2 draw appeared to give the home side an edge, Hearts enjoy a fine record at Fir Park and won 2-0 there earlier this term.

They didn't start with any inferiority complex and were soon taking the game to Graeme Smith's end.

Andrius Velicka imposed himself on Mark Reynolds and won a free-kick.

Michael Stewart's cross was well defended, though, and within a minute Motherwell were threatening with a free-kick of their own.

McCormack whipped in a dangerous delivery that just eluded Chris Porter when the merest touch could have diverted the ball behind keeper Steve Banks.

McCormack looked as lively as ever.

In dispossessing Deividas Cesnauskis after 14 minutes, he engineered an opening for himself in but shot wide.

Seven minutes later, though, the little striker was celebrating after converting a penalty he had won.

The move that led to Stuart Dougal's award epitomised the free-flowing style of football McGhee has drilled into this team. Stephen Hughes found time in a congested area just outside the box to dink a pass to Keith Lasley, who shuttled it instantly to McCormack.

He attempted a delicate chip from the 18-yard line but Eggert Jonsonn and Christophe Berra moved in to block.

Jonsson succeeded but with a raised arm and when Dougal pointed to the spot there were no complaints from Hearts.

McCormack was forced to wait for a nerve-jangling 90 seconds as team-mate Porter received treatment but when the time came to step forward, he calmly sent Banks the wrong way and three Fir Park stands erupted.

The goal affected Hearts badly and they struggled to find any rhythm.

McGhee's men had more purpose about their work, with midfield man Hughes increasingly influential.

The home side suffered a setback right on the stroke of the interval when Porter limped off to be replaced by Darren Smith. That was a blow because the striker had been holding up the ball and linking play expertly.

Hearts were out early for the second half and had Christian Nade in their ranks, while the anonymous Cesnauskis remained inside.

Frail had really been forced into a change because in the opening period his team had been at best lame and at worst lamentable.

The appearance of the muscular Frenchman lifted their support and Hearts piled forward in front of them in the opening minutes but their play lacked quality and their attacks were comfortably repelled.

Lasley went into the book for a trip on Nade in the 51st minute but Stewart's resultant free-kick drifted into Smith's arms and again a decent position was wasted.

Robbie Neilson was shown a yellow card minutes later for one foul too many on David Clarkson.

As the hour mark passed, there was the unusual sight of the referee being subbed. Dougal appeared to be limping slightly - well, he is getting on a bit - and headed for the dug-outs where fourth official Craig Thomson quickly took over.

Seconds later the sub ref should have been signalling an equaliser.

Young Mark Reynolds made a mess of clearing a straightforward cross from Jonsson and succeeded only in bundling the ball to Velicka, who was 10 yards out with the goal at his mercy.

The Lithuanian had scored in his previous three games but this time he rattled the inside of Smith's left-hand post and Ruben Palazuelos fired the rebound miles over.

It was a glaring miss and one Hearts simply couldn't afford as they had carved out so few chances.

As the match wore on, though, Hearts looked more dangerous and Nade was the biggest threat.

A slaloming run through a forest of legs should have created a chance but his cross was cleared and then Smith saved bravely at the striker's feet.

The closing stages were frantic.

Quinn and Mikoluinas were booked for a bust-up and Jonsson soon followed for cementing Clarkson.

But Motherwell held firm and when whistle blew they punched the air in delight.

This was not just any old victory. In their first game back at Fir Park, they had discovered how to win again.

MOTHERWELL: G Smith 7, Quinn 7, Paterson 7, Reynolds 7, Craigan 7, Lasley 7, Hughes 8, Fitzpatrick 7, Porter 5 (D Smith 44, 5), Clarkson 8, McCormack 8. Subs not used: Meldrum, McLean, Archdeacon, Murphy.

HEARTS: Banks 6, Neilson 5, Goncalves 5, Berra 6, Karipidis 6, Mikoluinas 5, Velicka 7, Cesnauskas 4 (Nade 46, 4), Stewart 6, Palazuelos 6, Jonsson 5. Subs not used: Buernsson, Beniusis, Wallace, Ivaskevicius.

REFEREE: Stuart Dougal (C Thomson 60).

Taken from the Daily Record

<-Page <-Team Tue 22 Jan 2008 Motherwell 1 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © |