London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 1998-99--> All for 19990523
<-Page <-Team Sun 23 May 1999 Aberdeen 2 Hearts 5 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies <-auth auth-> John Rowbotham
[M Buchan 7] ;[E Jess 61]
2 of 002 Gary McSwegan 2 ;Gary McSwegan 47 ;Gary McSwegan 49 ;Colin Cameron pen 52 ;Thomas Flogel 64L SPL A

JAMMY SWEGGER; Hat-trickster Gary says it was all luck.


GARY McSWEGAN blasted a stunning 48-minute hat-trick in a Pittodrie slaughter

It was a startling claim from the Hearts hitman given that he took an age to break his duck for the club after signing last October.

The free-transfer capture from Dundee United has now finished the season with eight goals from nine games.

And he could have grabbed a fourth from the penalty spot if, in his own words, Colin Cameron hadn't been TALLER than him.

But McSwegan - as sweet a striker of a ball as you'll find in the game - preferred to pay tribute to his team- mates and Dame Fortune rather than claim all the credit for himself.

Granted, there was a touch of luck about his 48th-minute third goal, with Dons' captain Derek Whyte - who had a shocker at the back - deflecting past keeper Tony Warner.

However, there was nothing to be modest about with regard to the two others - a second-minute volley across Warner into the corner and a stunning 46th-minute control and finish.

McSwegan, who also hit four goals for United before moving, said: "It was a good performance from the lads.

"Any club that comes up here and scores five is doing really well. Not many will do that.

"It's been a good end to the season for us - and I think it's all down to hard work. There's been a lot of confidence in the team, with the likes of Stephane Adam signing a new contract and a couple of new faces coming in plus wee Micky Cameron making a comeback.

"It's almost as if we've had four new signings.

"The boys got a huge lift from all of that and it just went through the team.

"I got three today but earlier on in the season, I wouldn't have got ANY of them. That's the way things work.

"I was just fortunate today, especially with the third one. The boys set them up brilliantly for me and I'm just happy I was there."

For McSwegan - helping to deliver Hearts' biggest Pittodrie win for 49 years - it was quite a change from his early torment with the Jambos.

The 28-year-old added: "When I arrived the team hadn't won for ages and it must have been two or three months before they did.

"That didn't help me. I don't think it would have been so bad if the boys had been winning and I hadn't been scoring.

"But to have everyone off the boil at the same time was a bit of a nightmare."

McSwegan then revealed why he didn't grab the ball for the penalty.

He joked: "I would have taken it - but Micky's a bit bigger than me!"

Cameron, fouled by Jamie Buchan for the spot-kick after an excellent build-up involving Darren Jackson and McSwegan, coolly took control and sent Warner the wrong.

Just 51 minutes gone and the dismal Dons side were 4-1 down. At that stage, you were tempted to put money on at least six going past them.

The Hearts fans - who sang the praises of boss Jim Jefferies, a Pittodrie hotseat candidate, throughout - chanted for the half- dozen as loudly as their throats allowed.

But in the end they had to make do with just one more, the tireless Austrian Thomas Flogel nonchalantly flicking a right- foot volley home from a pinpoint Adam delivery.

Even then, they still had 26 minutes to play.

Aberdeen, with a lot of their players looking ripe for binning, briefly promised better in the seventh and 61st minutes.

Those were the moments when Jamie Buchan and Eoin Jess, 13 goals for the season, beat stand-in Roddy McKenzie with powerful shots.

Apart from that, the collective team product from Aberdeen was pitiful.

The Dons attacked with hope and little invention, while Hearts went forward with belief and ability. McSwegan's outstanding exhibition of goal- scoring aside, Adam, Darren Jackson, Cameron and Flogel were also top notch.

Indeed, Jackson - cast aside by Celtic before the March transfer deadline - was still running about in the 90th minute as if his team needed a goal to avoid defeat.

Frankly, the suggestion that Jefferies might leave this set of players for the Dons' rank- rotten lot looked ridiculous at 2.15.

A number of the Dons players, with Whyte the first, made a point of shaking Jefferies' hand - almost as if they were looking for mercy ahead of him taking over.

If the Hearts lads have any inkling of where their boss's future lies, they weren't letting on.

McSwegan said: "You'll just need to ask him that."

The hat-trick hero - who said he was delighted the season is over because he's "knackered" - can now have a break and look ahead to the 1999-2000 season with some confidence.

He said: "After last season there were high expectations at Hearts this time, but we fell flat on our faces.

"We shouldn't get too carried away with our good run lately.

"But the secret's hard work and good team work. If we get that again, we should be in with a shout of something next season.

"What has happened shows that if you let your standards drop, things won't go for you.

"In one-off games, Rangers and Celtic can be beaten. In the league situation, it's really hard.

"I'm not going to say we ARE going to win something - but if we keep working hard we'll have a chance."

Standards drop? In the case of Aberdeen, they sank to new depths of defending with an appalling 71 goals conceded.

Maybe it was the perfect scoreline with which to sign off.

A better result might have partly camouflaged the sheer scale of the task facing the next manager. Now there can be absolutely no doubts.

Dream Team Man of the Match: Gary McSwegan (Hearts).

Taken from the Daily Record

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