London Hearts Supporters Club

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

Hamilton Academical 0 Hearts 4

Aug 23 2010 Hugh Keevins

HEARTS striker Calum Elliot is undergoing what psychologists call tough love. And it works.

Hamilton manager Billy Reid is enduring what cynics would call tough cheese. And it stinks.

The Accies are at Raith Rovers in the Co-op Cup tomorrow night and results so far this season suggest that might be a league match this time next year unless they break out of a sequence that has brought eight goals against, none for and zero points.

The Hearts support left New Douglas Park thinking they had seen the makings of a return to form that has the club alternatively known as Scottish football's third force.

But one Accies fan was heard to say at half-time that his side had shown: "Nae movement. Nae passing. Nae nothing."

And the disgruntled supporter ended his sorrowful summary of events by adding: "Maybe he should have gone to Swansea."

It was an ungrateful reference to the summer approach to boss Reid to take the reins at the Welsh club.

And the feeling might have been mutual if the Accies chief wasn't so convinced that the side he's managed for the last five years still has something to offer.

Reid said: "I stayed out of loyalty to the players who have been here with me for five years. And out of loyalty to the chairman, Ronnie McDonald, who gave me the chance to manage the club.

"There's not a lot of that in the modern-day game and I never look back at what might have been.

"I know I might never get the chance to manage a club like Swansea again, but I'll take the blame for the start we've made to the season and I'll promise to turn things round."

The manager might take inspiration from Elliot, not that he'd have noticed an exchange between his opposite number, Jim Jefferies, and the young striker during the first half.

The man who failed to score a single goal last season had opened the scoring with a spectacular effort from long range.

David Templeton extended Hearts' lead with an even better strike to suggest a premature end to the debate over who might win.

And then Jefferies could be seen giving Elliot what could only be described as what for from the touchline.

It was arms flailing, veins popping animation of the kind we've come to know and love from that particular quarter.

The effect was to make the player even more determined and provide another goal before the end, as well as being brought down for the penalty that gave substitute Kevin Kyle his first goal for Hearts.

That's exactly the kind of transformation Reid requires if the manager is to have any chance of reversing the opinion that the Accies look like early-season relegation fodder.

Keeping a team with Hamilton's limited resources in the major league for as long as he has in defiance of the odds has been an outstanding achievement. Now he has to confound the logic that says too many good players have been sold out of necessity and too many defensive stalwarts have been lost to injury at the same time, meaning his luck has run out.

Reid said: "Losing eight goals to Aberdeen and Hearts, including four penalties, has been hard to take. We were scary at times in both matches, but it's easy for people to be negative.

"We committed suicide at times and some of the goals were almost comical. But we have lost five out of the eight defenders we have at the club."

When your luck's out it stays out, and that was the case when Hamilton were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty at the start of the second half when there were still only two goals in it.

Jefferies made no comment on that oversight and preferred to take the referee to task for sending Ruben Palazuelos off for a second yellow card offence soon after.

The Hearts boss said: "The ref had a good game but the red card for a challenge that wasn't over the top was harsh.

"Ruben was wrong to get booked earlier on for kicking the ball away and I'll deal with him later, but the referee has to show more common sense at the second offence."

But the Hearts boss was happy with the outcome of his tough love session with Elliot.

He said: "Calum scored in pre-season friendlies against Middlesbrough and Dunfermline. Then he got a goal against St Johnstone. He's had injuries and he's had stick from the fans, but now they can see what he brings to the team."

Hearts' future looks assured with the quality of squad Jefferies has at his disposal.

Accies stand-in defender Simon Mensing, meanwhile, thinks it's time for his team to put survival before trying to impress.

He said: "There are times when we try too hard to play good football and it leads to mistakes.

"We have confidence in our ability and we don't believe two 4-0 scorelines are an accurate reflection of our opening matches. But we're trying to play good football and it's not working. Now we have to put the last two weeks behind us and squeeze games to make ourselves less vulnerable."

Hamilton lost the first four matches last season and lived to tell the tale. However, it would be unwise to put that statistic forward as a guarantee of anything this time.

When the manager uses the words embarrassment, scary, suicide and unacceptable at various stages of his post-match analysis then it suggests it's going to be a long season for the Accies - and we're not out of August yet.


Television owns the game nowadays, but midday kick-offs are not supporter friendly.

Less than 3000 fans went along to New Douglas Park and the game was rich enough in incident and goals to deserve a much healthier attendance.

As a spectacle the match lacked nothing and for those who did pay in it was worth the admission fee.

Taken from the Daily Record

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