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<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Craig Levein <-auth Lisa Gray auth-> Iain Brines
[D Griffin 40]
1 of 004 Andy Webster 69 ;Andy Kirk 78 L SPL H

Hearts 2 Dundee United 1

By PA Sport Staff

Hearts stayed on course for third place in the SPL and the guaranteed UEFA Cup place that goes with it after a fighting comeback to earn victory.

Trailing 1-0 to relegation-haunted Dundee United at Tynecastle had to work tirelessly to turn this game around.

Danny Griffin, who had been out with a back injury since September 28 2002, made a dream return in his first start since returning from injury.

Northern Ireland international Griffin fired United ahead on 40 minutes with a stunning curling free-kick which left Tepi Moilanen stranded.

Hearts boss Craig Levein knew he had to make a tactical alteration to change the flow of this game against a determined United side fighting for their lives in second bottom position.

At 1-0 down in the 63rd minute Levein made a double substitution throwing on Steven Boyack and match winner Kirk for Scott Severin and Gary Wales respectively.

In the 69th minute they were level through defender Andy Webster then came Kirk's 78th-minute match-winning strike.

United started this game very well with Andy Tod nodding just over on five minutes from Russell Latapy's in-swinging corner.

Latapy was booed by the Hearts support in a back-handed compliment due to the legendary status he enjoyed with Hearts' city rivals Hibs.

United continued to enjoy the best of the first half hour although Hearts were gradually creeping into the game and they forced a couple of corners.

The home side won a free-kick on 32 minutes in a good position however Phil Stamp's shot was deflected wide for a corner.

Then on 40 minutes Charlie Miller, who was playing up front alongside Jim McIntrye in absence of usual attackers Billy Dodds and Derek Lilley, won a free-kick after Webster fouled him.

Up stepped Griffin to send an unstoppable 20 yard right foot curler into the right corner beyond a static Hearts keeper.

Neither side made a change at the break and Hearts made the more impressive start to the second half.

However it was not until the double substitution made by the Hearts boss just after the hour that they grabbed the initiative.

Kirk tested Gallacher just after coming on with a fine shot however the keeper saved comfortably.

And on 69 minutes Hearts equalised in a move started off with a ball played into the box by Neil Janczyk. De Vries stepped over the ball and then Webster fired home at the back post.

De Vries then had a penalty claim waved away by Dougie Smith after Gary Bollan appeared to bring him down.

De Vries turned defender David McCracken on 75 minutes only to blast over from a good position.

However Hearts fans only had to wait three minutes for the winning goal. In the 78th minute substitute Boyack fired a cross over from the right of the penalty area and the ball fell into the path of Ulsterman Kirk after deflecting off De Vries and United defender Stuart Duff.

The Northern Ireland international clinically fired home from close range to claim a valuable three points for Hearts.


Hearts: Moilanen, Severin (Boyack 62), Webster, McKenna, Janczyk, Stamp, Neilson, Valois, McCann, de Vries, Wales (Kirk 62).

Subs Not Used: McKenzie, MacFarlane, Weir.

Booked: Stamp.

Goals: Webster 69, Kirk 78.

Dundee Utd: Gallacher, Tod, McCracken, Bollan, Duff, Easton, Latapy (McCunnie 57), Griffin (Smart 72), Paterson (Ogunmade 82), McIntyre, Miller.

Subs Not Used: Combe, Chiarini.

Booked: Duff.

Goals: Griffin 40.

Att: 9,663

Ref: I Brines (Scotland).

Taken from

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