London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 24 Jan 2004 Hearts 2 Partick Thistle 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Craig Levein <-auth Jim Kean auth-> Mike McCurry
----- James McGilbray Mitchell
3 of 006 Dennis Wyness 41 ;Dennis Wyness 78 L SPL H

Talk is costly for petulant Simmons


Hearts 2 Wyness (42, 78)
Partick Thistle 0

WHILE there remains no shortage of Hearts fans who think their chief executive, Chris Robinson, is guilty of using foul and abusive language in his continual use of the "M" word, it was swearing of a more conventional nature that provided most of this game’s talking points.

Stephen Simmons opted for a spot of cursing and walked, Jamie Mitchell didn’t, but then, having seen he was walking anyway, changed his mind and also lapsed into the vernacular as he, too, exited stage left.

Although the end result was the same, there was one significant difference between the two scenarios. The Thistle man’s request to vacate the field came courtesy of referee Mike McCurry, while Simmons received an invitation he couldn’t refuse from his manager.

Craig Levein is normally the sort of man who much prefers to shake his players by the hand, not the throat, when they’re being substituted, but in this case, he looked prepared to make an exception after Simmons had replaced Robbie Neilson, only to be hooked himself less than 20 minutes after making an appearance.

It turned out that he had sworn at the Hearts bench, or more correctly those sitting on it, an indiscretion to which Levein might just have been prepared to turn a blind eye had it been committed by an experienced player, but one he wasn’t going to accept from a youngster still trying to establish himself in the Jambos’ first-team.

If Simmons could have no gripe about having his afternoon’s action curtailed prematurely, Mitchell was rightly less enamoured by his being cut short, with even Alan Maybury admitting that the spot-kick claim which eventually led to the winger’s sending-off could easily have been given.

"We came together then both of us fell over and the decision could have gone either way," said the full-back, who was also on the receiving end of the tackle which earned Mitchell his opening booking. "The referee had no doubt it wasn’t a penalty, but had he given one, I couldn’t have argued too much.

The Partick Thistle player claimed that, far from going down without just cause, he was actually fouled not once but twice, a point that he was vainly trying to make to McCurry as the man in black was searching his pockets for first his yellow, then his red card.

"It was an absolute scandal," said Mitchell, who insisted he didn’t swear until after he had been dismissed, and given that any lingering hopes the Jags may have been harbouring disappeared with him, he probably wasn’t the only one in the visitors’ camp who was mouthing the odd bad word or two at that stage.

Despite enduring a few hairy moments, Hearts, inspired by Paul Hartley eventually won cosily enough, but in what, to use Maybury’s own description, was "a terrible game", it took a couple of goals from Dennis Wyness to subdue a Thistle side who are clearly of the opinion that reports of their impending SPL death have been exaggerated.

If they’re to convince the rest of us of that, though, the joint management team of Derek Whyte and Gerry Britton are going to have to insist that their players cut out the sort of suicidal defensive errors they made here, with a fluffed clearance from Adrian Madaschi setting up the chance for Wyness to open the scoring, and then Jamie Langfield getting caught in two minds as he was challenged by Kevin McKenna prior to the second.

The goalkeeper pondered whether to punt a long pass from Patrick Kisnorbo as far back up the field as possible, or simply knock it to the side, and as frequently happens in these situations, he did neither, to leave Wyness with the not exactly thorny problem of where in the gaping net he should put the ball.

"I’m totally gutted because I let the rest of the boys down. We were coming back into the game, and even with ten men, we were still in with a chance, but that goal knocked the stuffing out of us," said a penitent Langfield.

Next time, he’ll know just to play safe and belt the ball out the park in the general direction of Murrayfield. Which, if some people get their way, might not turn out to be very far at all, of course!

Referee: M McCurry.
Attendance: 10,264

Taken from the Scotsman

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