London Hearts Supporters Club

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John Robertson <-auth Graham Clark auth-> Douglas McDonald
[D Riordan 22]
19 of 025 Paul Hartley 55 L SPL A

Hartley stops Hearts beating

Graham Clark at Easter Road
Monday January 3, 2005
The Guardian

Edinburgh derbies are often overshadowed by Old Firm encounters but Hibernian and Hearts emerged to steal the spotlight with a fiercely contested fixture.
The home team appeared to be on their way to establishing a 12-point lead over their capital rivals when Derek Riordan scored midway through the first half, but Paul Hartley's 55th-minute equaliser ensured honours were even.

That was about right, too, because although the home side dominated the first half and the latter stages of the match the visitors emerged after the break transformed and had half an hour when they grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. That added up to a fascinating contest as a posse of club representatives ran the rule over Riordan and Ian Murray and the Tynecastle pair Alan Maybury and Mark de Vries.

Murray, the man of the match who is being linked with Rangers, Riordan, targeted by Celtic, and Maybury, wanted by Leicester City, all enhanced their transfer chances, but De Vries was ineffectual to the point that he was eventually substituted.

It was all an interesting sideshow to the main event. Hibs were outstanding in the first half, Craig Gordon havig to save well from Dean Shiels and then Stephen Glass. But Riordan then took advantage of a lucky break as the ball rebounded to him off Shiels's shin to open the scoring.

Hearts were a different proposition in the second half. Hartley was at the centre of the good work and was tripped by David Murphy when clean through but the referee Dougie McDonald failed to see anything illegal in the challenge.

"I can't believe the referee didn't see the trip," Hartley said. "Murphy was last man so he could have been sent off but if the official thought I had dived then he should have booked me. It was a stonewall free-kick and I was mad. I don't want to see players get sent off but it gives us the advantage and we've got to try and get the breaks if we can."

Hartley then headed over from six yards before he finally struck with a clever finish from a Graham Weir pass. "I was pleased to get a goal and especially so because I gave the ball away in the build-up to Hibs' opener," he said.

Andy Webster sent a header off the post as well before the home side reestablished their superiority and Sam Morrow twice, Steven Whittaker, Garry O'Connor, Shiels and Riordan might all have won it late on.

"We haven't spurned as many chances in 10 games put together," said the Hibernian manager Tony Mowbray. "They weren't half-chances, they were clear-cut chances and on another day one of them goes in and we win the match. But it wasn't to be."

Hearts were clearly happier with the draw; they are in disarray as the manager John Robertson and his players await takeover developments.

"It's not my club, I'm just the manager," said Robertson, adding that he hoped there was still enough of a presence about Hearts to be able to entice Stevie Crawford from Plymouth Argyle this week.

"A player of his quality would be a fantastic addition but it's up to chief executive Chris Robinson to produce now," he said before also revealing there had been inquiries for some of his current staff.

The Scotland striker Crawford is well known to Robertson, unlike the group of eastern European players being shipped in for trials this week by the prospective director of football Anatoly Byshovets.

Man of the match: Ian Murray (Hearts)

Taken from the Guardian/Observer

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