London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 1991-92--> All for 19910921
<-Page <-Team Sat 21 Sep 1991 Hearts 1 Dundee United 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Joe Jordan <-auth Douglas Campbell auth-> Louis Thow
[D Ferguson 37]
1 of 001 Tosh McKinlay 69 L Premier H

Jordan's celebration party falls a little flat: Hearts squander chances to make it a day to remember

Douglas Campbell

23 Sep 1991

BIRTHDAYS are meant to be times for joyous celebration, but inevitably in life some of the best-laid plans can, and do, go somewhat askew.

On Saturday, for instance, to celebrate Joe Jordan's first year in charge of team matters at Tynecastle, his employees went about their business in determined fashion, attempting to give the Hearts manager a present of another success.

But, while the performance of the players in maroon was a little short of effervescent against Dundee United, they turned in a display that should have secured them the two premier-division points.

However, a collection of bad luck and dogged determination from United, meant the club from Tayside returned north with a fortuitous share of the spoils courtesy of a 1-1 draw.

From the off it appeared that Hearts would sweep the opposition aside, showing little or no respect for a team that had, of late, been getting its act together.

With the driving rain at their backs Hearts could have been two up within seven minutes but both John Robertson and Dave McPherson scorned opportunities to capitalise on their colleagues' determination and verve.

Gary McKay and Derek Ferguson were the main orchestrators for Hearts and on numerous occasions their quickness of thought and deed left the opposition's defenders swinging a limb at fresh air while the Tynecastle men sped in the direction of Alan Main in the United goal.

As the heavens opened United ventured upfield and a cross from the right found Duncan Ferguson, who rose in an aerial duel with Graeme Hogg.

The striker appeared to get the touch and the ball whistled into the Hearts net.

But with 10 minutes remaining until the interval, the goal and conditions did little to dampen Hearts' resolve as they continued to give the normally silky United players little time to think, far less play to their normal, fluid pattern.

Exasperation was audible from the terracings as Hearts, with the gale now against them, sprinted towards Main after the interval.

However, just as it seemed that good fortune had deserted them the home side struck.

An effort from McKay was parried by Main and Tosh McKinlay, who earlier had almost broken an upright with a fierce drive, had the simple task of tapping the ball into an unguarded net.

Jim McLean, the United manager, who had taken up position in the dug-out for the closing 15 minutes of the match to encourage his lads, was grateful for the point his side had achieved.

The normally influential Billy McKinlay, reported his manager, played with a chest infection and to compound the player's discomfort he received a blow to the face early in the proceedings.

"Billy McKinlay didn't play the way he has been playing," said McLean.

Despite this the United midfielder could leave the pitch with a feeling of contentment knowing that he had battled on through his handicaps in an area where, on Saturday, Hearts looked particularly adept.

Much work, claimed McLean, has been done by the club's officials over a long period to finalise arrangements which will allow their new Argentinian signings to turn out for the side, work which, the manager hopes, will bear fruit in the near future.

Hearts' performance brought a look of satisfaction to Jordan, who claimed, with justification, that his side had played well and had created enough chances to win the match.

"Considering the conditions, " said Jordan, "I think we played some good football."

The afternoon's work of Gary McKay brought special mention from his manager, who explained that, although the player was now performing in a role unfamiliar to him, he had grasped it well and now has more to do with what is going on around him.

To lose a goal when they did and then witness Tosh McKinlay's fine strike come back off a post, one would perhaps forgive Hearts' people from wondering if it was not to be their day, but, as Jordan asserted, his players retained their formation and enthusiasm.

Hearts sit proudly at the summit of the premier-division having already dispatched Rangers, favourites with the odds-layers to retain the title, back to Glasgow with their tails between their legs.

But whether or not the Edinburgh club has the resources -- only 13 players were available at the weekend -- to maintain the title push over a punushing, prolonged campaign, time alone will tell.

Hearts look the part, solid at the rear, exciting in midfield, and with proven strikers.

Their players are asked to perform to their strength and to a pattern which raises hopes for weekly success either home or away.

With this mix Gorgie Road's finest should remain a force with which to be reckoned.

Taken from the Herald

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