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<-Page <-Team Wed 10 Nov 2004 Dunfermline Athletic 1 Hearts 3 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth Mark Bonthrone auth-> Hugh Dallas
[B Mehmet 60]
11 of 012 Andy Webster 33 ;Paul Hartley pen 66 ;Joe Hamill 84 LC A

Cup win is a sweet finish to Robbo's first week


TYNECASTLE boss John Robertson can look back on results over the last few days with a sense of satisfaction after a job well done.

Following a testing 90 minutes against Schalke in the group stages of the UEFA Cup last week his players dug deep against in-form Aberdeen to clinch third spot in the SPL at the weekend.

Last night against Dunfermline at East End Park the Tynecastle side played their third game in seven days yet comfortably defeated their opponents 3-1 to book a place in the final four of the CIS League Cup.

Both away games represented potential banana skins but the professional manner in which his side came through the tests will surely please Robertson.

Goals from Andy Webster, Paul Hartley and a wonderful Joe Hamill strike eased Hearts beyond Davie Hay’s men.

The result was no less than the visitors deserved and gives the 2000 or so supporters who braved a bitterly cold evening in Fife a day out at Hampden to look forward to in February.

And Robertson was delighted to have come through the match and book a place in the last four of a competition the club have traditionally struggled in.

"We said before the game and over the last few days that you get nothing easy when you come to Fife and that’s the way it turned out," said Hearts’ all-time record goalscorer.

"I thought we had slightly the better of the first half and Andy’s [Webster] header gave us a platform to build on. All credit to Dunfermline though. They changed their system in the second half and did terrifically well.

"They got an equaliser but we were able to show the composure that I’ve been looking for. We passed the ball really well and then got the two goals which sealed it.

"Over the piece I thought we deserved to win the game and I’m really pleased.

"It’s fantastic to be in the semi-finals. Teams like Hearts and Hibs should be challenging for semi-finals and pushing people all the way. We’ve got an opportunity now. There’s only four teams that can win it and we’re one of them."

And Robertson reserved special praise for Dennis Wyness who came back into the side at the expense of Ramon Pereira.

The former Caley frontman looked to have put his team ahead when it appeared he had touched on Webster’s header although he later admitted he hadn’t been able to get anything on it.

It would have been understandable if Wyness had tried to claim the goal, given his lack of opportunities recently, but he was happy to point out it was Webster’s strike. Robertson was nonetheless delighted with Wyness’ contribution after a slow start to his career in Gorgie.

He said: "I thought we also saw the real Dennis Wyness in the game. He started to play a wee bit and that’s a massive plus for the football club.

"If I was Dennis I would have run away with my hands in the air but he’s a much more honest lad than me and he gave it to Andy Webster!"

Before last night’s clash the Jambos had never won on the Pars’ plastic pitch which may explain their tentative start.

Kevin McKenna did come close for the visitors with three minutes on the clock when his shot was crowded out after Wyness had won the ball in a challenge with Pars goalkeeper Derek Stillie outside the area.

But thereafter it was Davie Hay’s side who had the better of proceedings. Craig Brewster made space for himself at the front post to almost get on the end of Thomas Butler’s cross only to then take a fresh air swipe with only Craig Gordon to beat from six yards.

The former Hibs striker was again in the thick of the action when Andy Tod nodded a Scott Thomson free-kick into his path eight yards from goal but under pressure from Steven Pressley he blazed his effort high over the bar.

John Robertson’s men were struggling to contain the veteran hitman and midway through the half it was his knock-down that Barry Nicholson fired narrowly over from 25-yards.

For all their pressure, however, Dunfermline lacked a cutting edge and 12 minutes from the break Hearts showed them how it was done with a simple goal.

Robbie Neilson’s long throw into the penalty area from the right hand side seemed to cause panic in the home defence and it was Webster who rose first to loop a header towards the back post. Wyness did swing a leg at the ball but was unable to get anything on it before it hit the net.

The goal lifted Hearts and from them on in you sensed there was only ever going to be one winner.

It’s ironic therefore the Pars equalised when the Capital club were enjoying their best spell of the match.

Brewster, who picked up a knock, was replaced by Billy Mehmet and within a minute of entering the action the substitute had drawn his team level with his very first touch.

Nicholson squared the ball to him on the edge of the area and when the Hearts defence failed to close him down he cracked a 20-yard effort towards the bottom corner. Although Gordon managed to tip the ball onto the post he was unable to prevent it from crossing the line and will feel he could have done better.

But Hearts have proved to be very resilient in the last couple of seasons and again got their noses in front again just minutes later.

The Pars’ Richie Byrne failed to spot Neilson bearing down on him as he tried to clear his lines so when the Hearts full-back nicked in to steal the ball Byrne followed through with his clearance instead sending the defender tumbling in the area.

Although there appeared to be no intent there is little doubt Neilson was tripped and despite the home players’ protests referee Hugh Dallas awarded a penalty which, for the second time in four days, Hartley duly dispatched.

Eight minutes from time Hearts secured their place in the draw for the next round when the Dunfermline defence failed to mark Hamill on the edge of the box and when Hartley rolled a corner into his path he confidently side-footed the ball into the top corner of the net leaving Stillie rooted to the spot.

Dunfermline boss Davie Hay was, however, unhappy with the build-up to the penalty award.

"I thought the referee got some important decisions wrong. He makes the calls though so I suppose we have to accept it," he said. "But I felt Derek Stillie had been impeded in the build up to the penalty and there were other decisions that seemed to go Hearts’ way.

"The third goal killed the game but I didn’t feel the scoreline was a fair reflection on the game."

Taken from the Scotsman

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