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

Jim Jefferies strikes it rich at last

Published Date: 22 August 2010
By Andrew Smith
at New Douglas Park
HEARTS' ability to make good on plenty of promise this season was supposed to be wrapped up in the ability of Jim Jefferies to mould an effective front-line partnership between Kevin Kyle and Stephen Elliott.

Now it might not be that simple for the Hearts manager. "I don't know what Elliot(t] to pick," Jefferies joked after Calum Elliot proved the architect of the sort of goalfest Hearts aren't exactly used to.

A double yesterday took the 23-year-old Scot's tally for the season to three goals from two games. Such a run does not a season-long scorer make. But Elliot is entitled to think that his fortunes are changing considering that he didn't find the net even once in an injury-affected last campaign and hadn't scored in back-to-back games since 2006.

"Oh my God," said Kyle to hearing that stat as he talked up his team-mate, the big lump bagging his first goal for the club after Elliot won a penalty and gave him the honour of converting it, which he did by lashing it high in to the net.

"With a so-called couple of big signings coming in with Stephen and me, Calum probably thought during the summer: 'Am I going to get a game?', but he's got the nod and fair play to him," said Kyle, who had Elliot agree with him afterwards that the competition was spurring him on. It might be bad news for the other Elliott, currently recovering from a hamstring problem. "I'm going to phone Stephen and tell him not to bother coming in to training this week because he's not going to get a game."

The 76th-minute penalty award cost Martin Canning his participation to put the tin lid on a horrendous day for Hamilton. The defender leaned into to Elliot at the end of a long run and paid for it with a red card. It was the second dismissal of the afternoon after Ruben Palazuelos received a second yellow card on the hour-mark from referee Stephen Finnie following a studs-showing block in a challenge with Flavios Paixao.

The red cards weren't the pivotal moments, though. Elliot's telling interventions were that.

He netted a personal second and his team's fourth five minutes after the penalty when he dispossessed Kyle Wilkie and ran half the length of the field before slotting in to the far corner.

Jefferies said: "Calum got one last week against St Johnst one and now he's got two in this game having not scored for the club at all last term.

"He was disappointed by that, but to be fair to him he was out with injury a long time last season and coming back from the type of injuries he's had you're not the sharpest, then you're putting yourself in the firing line to get a bit of criticism.

"I think the fans saw the best of Calum today and what he brings, because apart from his goals his work-rate was tremendous and that's why I didn't take him off because he's such a willing worker for the team."

Earlier the forward bagged a beezer of a strike to open the scoring after four minutes, only for his ferocious whack from the edge of the area to be eclipsed midway through the period when David Templeton belted one in from 20 yards. Great and all were these two strikes, it was crackers that goalkeeper Tomas Cerny tried to head away a passback in the lead-up to the second.

Such moments had the Hamilton manager reeling after the match. After lamenting the failure to award a penalty kick to his side for Lee Wallace pushing Flavio Paixao early in the second period and the same player then heading against the crossbar, he laid into his players. Back-to-back 4-0 defeats - Aberdeen the scene of the first of these - can do that to a manager.

One who sounded worryingly, and unusually, downbeat in admitting it has been "hard work" regrouping from the loss of eight players from the team that finished in seventh place last season, and coping with injuries to "big players" Mark McLaughlin and Alex Neil, the eight-week loss of the midfield prompter being especially keenly felt following the departure of James McArthur.

"We were all over the place at times," Reid said. "At times it was embarrassing.

"We are missing key players, but that doesn't excuse some of the things happening out there. We're probably about eight players down from the final game of last season.

"We committed suicide by conceding our fourth penalty in two games and at this level as a manager it makes you want to pull your hair out. We had big holes to plug and being honest it's hard work at the moment.

"The one thing about this club is that we will stick together in the hard times. It is not acceptable, not good enough and it's up to me to do something about it.

"As a manager you can't do anything about players making individual mistakes but I train them, I select them and we have to do better.

"After last week at Aberdeen we didn't dwell on the game but maybe we should have. Maybe it's not a blip."


Maybe all of us predicting that Reid's wiles would see Hamilton through again this season have underestimated the difficulty of the constant renewal forced on him by player departures.

Taken from the Scotsman

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