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We need to hear cheers - not jeers

Published Date: 26 October 2009
By Colleen Paterson
Bouzid understands fans' frustrations after stalemate but says booing Stewart does not help struggling Jambos
ISMAEL BOUZID today stressed that he understands the Hearts fans' disappointment – but insisted he and his team-mates need them to show their support, and not their frustrations, if they are to rescue their season.

The Jambos defender was stunned to hear the home fans boo and jeer skipper Michael Stewart when he was replaced by Ian Black midway through the second half of the goalless draw with Falkirk on Saturday.

Stewart shook hands with opposition manager Eddie May before heading straight up the tunnel at Tynecastle, completely bypassing his own dugout and coach Csaba Laszlo.

Bouzid was disappointed by the reaction of the Hearts fans and says that turning on their own player does more harm than good. With the team slipping to ninth place in the SPL table, he knows that now is a difficult time to support Hearts but believes that they can help their players through this sticky patch by backing them to the hilt and getting right behind them.

Bouzid said: "All of the team and the coach understand the reaction of the fans because at the moment we have been losing a lot of points.

"We are not happy either because we know that we had the possibility to win the game on Saturday. We had the chances to score, that is a positive that we can take and it was the same against Aberdeen as well.

"Our problem is that we are not scoring at the moment but I believe in my team and my coach and I know that if we continue to work every day, we can do better. We are in the middle position in the league right now but we must do better and work more in training and I hope that we can be better.

"There are still a lot of games to go and we need the fans. Sometimes as a player you have difficult moments and the reaction of the fans is not good.

"But we need them behind us, we need their support and their help. I understand that it is difficult at the moment because they are not happy but if they can be more positive it might help us.

"We lost the points all together, we are not just one player and a negative reaction from the fans can make it more difficult every time you touch the ball."

Laszlo, who also came in for some stick from the stands, admitted that it was the first time in his career that he had seen a club captain come in for such stick and vowed to protect his player as much as possible.

The Hungarian said: "It is the first time I have seen the captain not given the acceptance of the supporters and I think this is not okay. Everybody works for this club. As long as I am in charge here, I will support every player.

"You could also be angry with Suso or David Obua for missing chances in the match. I took him off to protect him.

"The supporters know the situation right now with the club and I do not think I should have to go to everyone and explain things.

"If you win a game are you happy and everyone is a world-class player – and if you draw then everyone is bad? No, this is not true.

"The league is very long, maybe you win a game against Celtic or Rangers and think you are a team who can move forward. You must show a little bit of acceptance to everybody.

"I appreciate every single supporter but if you win a game 2-0 or 3-0 then it is very easy to support the team. But sometimes the team is struggling and also in this moment, they need support to win the game."

Hearts have suffered in recent weeks from missed chances and they suffered the same fate again on Saturday.

They should have opened their account after just five minutes when Andrew Driver picked out Lee Wallace wide on the left and the defender produced a perfect cross into the box, only for David Obua to head over the bar from the edge of the six-yard area.

The Tynecastle side were then let off the hook in 13 minutes when a misjudged header by Ismael Bouzid fell straight to Kjartan Finnbogason just inside the area and it looked like the Falkirk player would give his side the advantage but his first touch was a poor one and that allowed Janos Balogh to smother the danger.

Laszlo's side had another good opportunity in 19 minutes when Ruben Palazuelos lifted the ball into the box where Suso was waiting but the little Spaniard got too much on the ball when he tried to control it on his chest and the chance was lost.

The home side threatened again when Thomson sent an in-swinging corner in from the right. It looked certain to be turned into the net by Jose Goncalves but the Hearts defender was just inches away from connecting with his head.

At the other end, just seconds later, Balogh had to be on his toes to touch a long-range shot from Alex Macdonald.

Hearts had further chances to score in the opening ten minutes of the second half, Palazuelos even getting two bites of the cherry 12 yards from goal but still the Spaniard could not find the back of the net.

Finnbogason then had a great chance to give Falkirk the lead but totally missed his kick after being set up by Macdonald.

Hearts broke forward again when Obua won possession down the left and passed to Nade before taking the return and racing towards the byline, however his cross into the area was well cut out by Bairns keeper Robert Olejnik.

And Laszlo's side should have made their next chance count, Nade heading on for Suso, but the little winger could only fire wide of Olejnik's left-hand post.

Suso was involved again as Hearts pushed up in 73 minutes, some fantastic skill leaving both Scott Arfield and Mark Stewart in his wake before sliding the ball into the path of Obua. He looked up and picked out Stewart in the middle, but the skipper opted to have a go himself from long-range. It flew over the bar – much to the disgust of the Hearts supporters, who made their feelings known.

He was then replaced to a chorus of ironic cheers and the clearly angered midfielder headed straight up the tunnel into the dressing-room.

As the game entered the final stages, Bairns keeper Olejnik was forced to make a one-handed block to prevent Brian McLean's backwards header from resulting in an own goal. After the match he laughed: "It's one we practised in training. No, seriously, it was just one of those things and it meant I had to do my job. You see how often these guys do their job to keep the opposition out, defending and last-ditch tackles. It's just the way it goes really.

"It all happened in slow motion. As soon as it came off his head I was determined I was going to save it."

ANDREW DRIVER was involved in one of the best moves of the match, taking a return pass from Suso before racing to the edge of the box and letting fly, only to see his effort fizz just wide of Robert Olejnik's left-hand post.

ROBERT OLEJNIK was in fine form throughout but his best save came from one of his team-mates, the Falkirk goalkeeper throwing himself left to push Brian McLean's backwards header away with one hand, preventing a spectacular own goal.

CHRIS BOYLE made one major mistake in the 90 minutes – and it could have changed the outcome of the game. Hearts were denied a clear goalscoring opportunity when Suso was bundled to the ground by Darren Barr but the whistler chose to show him just a yellow card, leaving the Bairns with 11 players on the pitch.

CRAIG THOMSON showed just why he was voted Clydesdale Bank Young Player of the Month. He worked hard to keep the Bairns out at one end and caused endless problems for the visitors at the other with his wicked delivery from corners, crosses and free-kicks.


Hearts 5
Falkirk 2

Hearts 7
Falkirk 5

Hearts 8
Falkirk 6

Hearts 3
Falkirk 2

Hearts 10
Falkirk 16

Hearts: Obua (46, dissent). Falkirk: Barr (37, foul on Suso), Stewart (84, late tackle), Arfield (90, late tackle)


v Celtic (a), Co-operative Insurance Cup, Wed, 7.35pm


Witteveen 67 (Nade)
Black 78 (Stewart)
Glen 85 (Driver)


Marceta 62 (Flynn)
Stewart 68 (Macdonald)
Mitchell 88 (Marceta)

Taken from the Scotsman

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