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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Andrew Smith auth-> Stephen Finnie
Palazuelos Ruben ----- Martin Joseph Canning
4 of 010 Calum Elliot 6 ;David Templeton 24 ;Kevin Kyle pen 75 ;Calum Elliot 81L SPL A

Elliot seizes his opportunity as Hearts hammer atrocious Accies

Published Date: 23 August 2010
Hamilton Accies 0

Hearts 4

Elliot 4, 81; Templeton 41; Kyle 76 pen

Referee: S Finnie

Attendance: 2,899
THE Calum Elliot renaissance is rightly claiming top billing for Hearts in this fledgling season. But after watching the Tynecastle side record their biggest win in four years, the fact Jim Jefferies could reel off a host of other strikers who didn't feature shows that Hearts all of a sudden appear to have genuine depth when it comes to frontline options.

No-one could have anticipated Elliot would appear as good a bet as Kevin Kyle, Stephen Elliott, Suso Santana, David Obua or David Glen. Indeed, to a Hearts support who had given up on the 23-year-old, he would have been placed behind fifth choice Glen before his current two-game, three-goal burst - a mini-run that represents his best scoring spell since he was a teenager, and has supplied him with his first league goals in more than a season.

And for Kyle, who converted a penalty earned by an Elliot run, the numbers in attack can add up to goals. "I think it's a long time since Hearts had squad as big as this and a few signings up front puts the pressure on, and that helps," he said.

"What that means is you have people playing their hearts out to stay in it."

Kyle believes Elliot's fear over lack of involvement may have proved a powerful motivation after his injury problems and those of fellow former Sunderland man Elliot presented the young forward - who, because he has been around for so long and had such a chequered career with loan spells and injuries, we sometime forget is that - with an opportunity. He has seized that with aplomb, setting in motion a horrible day for Hamilton with a howitzer of a hit in the fourth minute, that David Templeton topped with a 25-yard blaster midway through the first period. "You'll go far to see two goals as good as that in one game," Jefferies said afterwards. He wasn't lying.

Hearts' command and efficiencies across long spells of an encounter in which they home side appeared scarily out of their depth had Kyle openly thinking big about the season. "With the squad we have and the right signings we've made, we are capable of doing anything," said the skyscraper striker, who is working his way back to full fitness after missing most of pre-season with a knee problem.

"It will depend how quickly we can get settled but in saying that (in the opening day draw] against St Johnstone we were really impressive, we probably played better than at Hamilton, so that is encouraging.

"I think the manager and Billy Brown have a wee smile to themselves about how things are going and see that it could be a really good season.

I hope I can be the part of something."

Jefferies allowed his wee smile to crack on the matter of a red card for Ruben Palazuelos. Predictably, he didn't see his block challenge on Flavio Paixao, in which studs appeared showing, as meriting the s econd yellow card from referee Stephen Finnie. He did, though, have to acknowledge that the midfielder kicking the ball away early on to earn his first caution didn't exactly sit well with his pledge to crack down on Hearts' heavy-duty penalty point accumulation.

"I was ten yards away and don't know how he could have given a (second] booking for something like that. And I like Stephen Finnie and thought he had a good game. But the booking was really soft because it wasn't a crunching tackle or anything like that.

"I felt sorry for Ruben but where I was annoyed at him was kicking the ball away after I have spoken about improving discipline."

Caution must be applied to reading too much into Hearts most emphatic league away win in ten years because Hamilton proved so hapless after the loss of two thunderous finishes - goals they contributed to by opening up defensively and positively inviting Elliot and Templeton to stride forward and have a pop.

It was telling that Billy Reid did not attempt any rallying of his troops on Saturday night following their second consecutive 4-0 beating. Hamilton started in similar sorry fashion last season. Then, as with Alex Neil, Mark McLaughlin and David Elebert now, they had key players missing and Reid reacted to the heavy losses by bullishly predicting it would be different when the "real Hamilton" could take to the pitch.

His tone on Saturday, in contrast, was unremittingly downbeat. He said his side were "all over the places" and "at times an embarrassment".

Of the concession of a fourth penalty in two games - following the three at Aberdeen - that brought Martin Canning's dismissal he said: "At this level it is the kind of thing to have a manager tearing his hear out."

As it looks now, with James McArthur's move to Wigan and Neil's eight-week sidelining, the heart has been torn out of the Hamilton midfield. "If I'm being honest, I have to say it is not easy right now," Reid said of his need to rebuild key elements of his side for a third consecutive season in the top flight. As Hamilton look to follow up a seventh place SPL finish that marked their highest placing in 71 years of top flight football, life may not get any easier for Reid.

Man of the Match

Calum Elliot (Hearts)

Or should that be man reborn, with the double scorer at Hamilton exhibiting the sort of threat in and around the box that makes the

23-year-old currently look like a 20-goal-a-season striker on the back of his no-goal season.

Taken from the Scotsman

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