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Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth auth-> Douglas McDonald
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10 of 010 Suso Santana 71 ;David Obua 88L SPL A

Hearts winger Templeton grabbed his chance to mesmerise Hibs

Published Date: 04 May 2010
DAVID TEMPLETON came of age in Leith on Saturday with mesmerising wing play and the kind of panache those at Easter Road like to call their own. It was his most accomplished first-team performance, an indication that he will evolve into a major player for Hearts next season.
Supporters seeking a new talisman will be tempted to hang their hopes on the 21-year-old from Parkhead.

The Glaswegian twang instantly stands out in a cosmopolitan Riccarton dressing-room but Templeton conducts his business with quiet efficiency.

His direct dribbling throughout the Edinburgh derby posed untold problems for the Hibernian defence. So much so that, during the first half, Ian Murray made several attempts to bounce him off the JCB excavator sitting in place of Easter Road's east terracing. The winger remained unperturbed and continued tantalising his marker before being switched to the left flank upon the second-half introduction of the predominantly right-sided Suso.

From there, Templeton began tormenting Steven Thicot and concluded his exhibition with the cross for Hearts' winning goal, converted by David Obua.

"I think it's my best performance. I've not had many starts but from the ones I've had I'd say that's probably the best I've played. It was good to set up the winning goal as well," he told the Evening News.

"I was feeling a bit tired near the end, my calf was a bit tight. Instead of trying to go past the player, I thought I'd try to put the ball across the front of goal and luckily we scored from it.

"I wasn't being lazy, just tired. It was a great feeling seeing it go in.

"Then you see the fans going mental and the time on the clock. It was a great time to score and to just watch the fans going crazy.

"The instructions in the final third were to beat your man and get the ball across the face of goal.

"Most of the time I tried to beat my man and it worked. I got a couple of shots in but near the end I crossed it.

"I think it was a wise decision. Whatever side I'm on, I just try to beat my man and get a cross in. I don't mind which side I play on.

"Even with a couple of minutes to go and the score at 1-1 we were still up for it and trying to go for it. One-all would have been a decent result at Easter Road but we wanted more than that. We are trying to get into Europe, Hibs are just above us and we didn't want to sit back. I was thinking that, with the forward players we have, then if we got up the park and created a decent chance we would take it. That gave us encouragement to go for a winner."

Encountering fatigue towards the end of such a captivating show would be entirely normal. Templeton even had to temper his celebrations as the effects of his endeavours told. "To be honest I couldn't really run at all. I saw David Obua sprint away the other way after scoring. I couldn't even run to catch him, I had to wait till he came back towards the Hearts fans to celebrate. Everybody in the changing room was going mental as well."

The celebrations were missed by his nearest and dearest, however, who did not bank on the slender and slight player being selected for such a brutish fixture. "I usually have family coming to every game but because it was on TV they decided to stay home and watch," he said. "They didn't know I would be starting so I think they might be regretting that decision. They still saw the game, though.

"As a player you want to play in every game, especially the big ones like that. It was massive for me to be in the starting team and it's massive just to win a derby. We've come back from being one goal down, so winning 2-1 was a great result."

The sight of maroon shirts galloping forward into the Hibernian half during the closing stages of the derby was testament to the attacking ethos Hearts manager Jim Jefferies is striving to instil. Six months ago, a 1-1 draw at Easter Road would have been welcomed, but the mindset has altered considerably.

"I think we're a lot more attacking now and we're trying to get wins. It's not about sitting in and taking draws, you want as many victories as you can, especially with Europe to think of," said Templeton.

"We're going into two home games now against Dundee United and Celtic, that gives us a chance of six points. The situation is still in Hibs' hands but, if they slip up and we get the results we want, we could be in Europe."

All of this, of course, is assuming Ross County do not defy the odds and win the Scottish Cup. Provided Dundee United captain Andy Webster holds the famous trophy aloft at Hampden Park on Saturday week, fifth place in the SPL will permit entry to the second qualifying round of next season's Europa League.

With only two games left of the current campaign, Templeton is already anticipating making a major impact after the summer. He is presently thriving in the absence of a more established colleague with Andy Driver's thigh injury having ruled him out until June.

Deploying both players on opposite flanks next year would accord Hearts serious attacking flair as Jefferies attempts to comprise a team in his own image. "If I keep doing well there's no reason to be out of the team," added Templeton. "If I do well in these last two matches then next season I hope to get a chance.

"Driver's a massive loss for us because he's such a great player. But him being out has given me my chance and I'm here to try and take it.

"I want Driver to be fit because we want our best players to play but now I'm getting an opportunity I'm looking to make the most of it. When he comes back, hopefully he'll go somewhere else (in the team) and I'll stay in."

He joined Hearts three years ago from Stenhousemuir and made only fleeting contributions whilst adjusting to top-level SPL football. Now he looks ready. Next season, there should be nothing temporary about young Temps.

Taken from the Scotsman

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