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Craig Levein <-auth None auth-> Mike McCurry
----- James McGilbray Mitchell
4 of 006 Dennis Wyness 41 ;Dennis Wyness 78 L SPL H

Dennis double as Wyness finally shows his menace

THE last time Dennis Wyness found the back of the net for Hearts, Scotland was still basking in a summer heatwave and the thorny issue of the Jambos moving to Murrayfield was a distant twinkle in the eye of chief executive Chris Robinson.

The Aberdonian had arrived in Gorgie from Inverness Caley Thistle with the reputation of being something of a goal machine after his impressive scoring exploits in the first division with the Highlanders.

Much was therefore expected of the front man when he became one of boss Craig Levein’s new pre-season signings.

Having started the first three games of the current campaign, Wyness broke his duck when he netted a magnificent solo effort against Dunfermline on Saturday, August 31, his stunning strike all that separated the teams on the day.

With that burden off his shoulders, supporters expected the goals to come on a regular basis. However, transition to life in the top flight can take time, and try as he might, the forward found himself unable to buy another goal in the weeks which followed.

Before Saturday’s visit of Partick Thistle, the winner against the Pars was the only effort to his name in 21 games for the Jambos. Five months on, though, and Wyness has finally rediscovered his killer instinct in front of goal.

The front man, who had been preferred to a fit-again Andy Kirk after showing glimpses of a return to form in last week’s narrow defeat to Celtic at Tynecastle, bagged a double against the relegation-haunted Jags to end what must have been a worrying famine for the player.

Not only did he secure an important three points but his contribution could well be all the more significant if it helps provide the catalyst for more of the same as his manager hopes it will, during the remainder of the season.

"Dennis has had to wait for his chance," said the Gorgie boss. "He played at the start of the season but strikers are gauged by the number of goals they score and he hadn’t got enough.

"Andy Kirk came in and got goals but was then injured. Dennis came in last week against Celtic and did well and it was a very difficult decision who to start. But I had a feeling Partick would sit in and Dennis’ game is more suited to coming short and linking up. Hopefully that now gives him a bit of confidence."

It has to be said, though, Wyness was given a helping hand by some dreadful defending from the visitors, both goals coming as a result of errors from Thistle.

The opener arrived after 42 minutes. The impressive Paul Hartley found Phil Stamp and his cross from the left into the box should have been cleared by Adrian Madaschi. The Aussie defender, though, only succeeded in knocking the ball straight to the lurking Wyness who had the simplest of tasks of slotting home past Jamie Langfield from close range.

The Jambos had to wait until 13 minutes from time for the second goal which eventually killed off a well organised Thistle outfit and it came via route one.

Patrick Kisnorbo launched a long ball from inside his own half towards substitute Kevin McKenna on the edge of the Partick area. Langfield came out to challenge the Canadian, who had earlier replaced Mark de Vries as his side’s target man, only for the ball to fall to Wyness and he kept his composure to send a chip into the unguarded net.

Another good break, another goal.

After last week’s defeat to Celtic, Levein was left lamenting the fact that Lady Luck hadn’t walked through the turnstiles. But evidence that she was in attendance on Saturday came early in the second period with the hosts fortunate not to concede penalty a with the score still at 1-0.

Jamie Mitchell, who had been cautioned in the first half, looked to be impeded by Alan Maybury as he broke into the box in the 58th minute and was left furious when Mike McCurry waved aside his pleas for a penalty.

The whistler took exception to his protestations and promptly flashed a second yellow card in his direction to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb.

Levein later acknowledged that the "50-50" award could well have been given and a goal at that stage would certainly have thrown the game back into the melting pot.

So the Jambos perhaps had the slice of fortune which escaped them against Celtic but to suggest they were lucky to take the points would be wrong. Despite having to cope with a last-minute reshuffle with Scott Severin pulling out of the starting line-up after his groin injury flared up in the warm-up - Robbie Neilson was called up as right-back with Maybury switching to left-back and Kisnorbo moving into midfield - Hearts always had the measure of a well-drilled Jags side.

It was always going to be tough to produce the kind of performance which pushed the runaway league leaders all the way in a dramatic encounter last weekend. And for spells the players appeared to find it difficult to find their best form in the more subdued atmosphere.

But it was all about getting the job done and in the end the margin of victory could have been greater, McKenna and Hartley seeing shots saved by Langfield while an attempted clearance from the former Dundee keeper ricocheted off Wyness and bounced just wide of his right-hand post.

"It wasn’t a vintage performance to say the least but I was delighted with the three points," said Levein.

"Partick made it extremely difficult for us and denied us space in their half.

"We spoke beforehand about the need to be patient and that’s how it turned out.

"It proved difficult to break them down and in the first half they looked dangerous on the break and might have caused us a problem with a better final ball.

"But overall I don’t think anybody could argue we weren’t worth the three points."

Hearts substitute Stephen Simmons picked the wrong man to argue with when he swore at the bench towards the end of the game, Levein promptly removing the player who had been on the park for barely 20 minutes. The Jambos boss then gave the youngster a rollicking about his behaviour in full view of the main stand before sending him down the tunnel, the midfielder left to regret his petulance in no uncertain terms.

Taken from the Scotsman

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