London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 18 Sep 2010 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1 Hearts 3 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Ewan Smith auth-> Iain Brines
[E Odhiambo 37]
7 of 013 Christopher Innes og 44 ;Ryan Stevenson 55 ;Calum Elliot 69L SPL A

Inverness CT 1 Hearts 3

Sep 19 2010 Ewan Smith, Sunday Mail

DELIGHTED Hearts star Ryan Stevenson admits he is over the moon after finally ending a nine-month scoring drought to help his side make it six wins in a row over Inverness.

The midfielder put the Jambos 2-1 up in 55 minutes after a Chris Innes' OG had cancelled out Eric Odhiambo's first-half opener.

Calum Elliot then sealed the win with a killer third as Hearts bounced back from last week's defeat to Celtic with the victory pushing Jim Jefferies side up to third place in the table.

And Stevenson, who joined Hearts in January from Ayr United, said: "I've been saying for a while now that my scoring record has been playing on my mind so getting this goal has got the monkey off my back.

"It's been a long time coming and I haven't scored since Christmas when I was still at Ayr.

Trundling "It's not something I'm used to and I've spoken to the manager about it because the longest I'd ever gone before this without a goal was four games at Ayr.

"But he has kept his faith in me and I'm glad I'm off the mark now. To get it at an important time - to make it 2-1 in the game - also makes it sweet and I hope both myself and the team can kick on from this.

"We're not setting any targets yet. We have to take each game as it comes but a club like this must do better than we did last year.

"We should be looking to finish third or fourth at worst because this is a big club but we have to keep working hard to push ourselves forward."

Hearts were without new signing Rudi Skacel - who was deemed not even fit enough for the bench - and long-term absentees Lee Wallace and Andrew Driver as they made the long trip up the A9.

Kevin Kyle was also missing from the starting line-up and without the physical presence of the big striker Hearts looked decidedly lightweight early on.

To be fair, Inverness weren't much better in what was an extremely poor opening first period.

Perhaps the players hadn't fully woken up for the lunchtime kick-off but some of those who tuned into ESPN for this live match were possibly sleeping themselves come the half-hour mark.

Yes, it really was THAT bad.

Yet the game began with such promise as the lively David Templeton cut in from the left androve a low 10-yard shot straight at Ryan Esson.

At the other end, Adam Rooney got on the end of a Johnny Hayes free-kick but couldn't divert his header past Marian Kello.

Then on 20 minutes came the effort that summed up the quality of the early play as Stevenson lined up an 18-yard drive only to slip as he pulled the trigger with the ball trundling harmlessly wide.

Barging Rooney then had another header saved by Kello from a Hayes free-kick before the game sparked into life with a penalty box bustup.

Spaniard Suso Santana kicked off the melee when he took a tumble as he was challenged by Ross Tokely.

Ref Iain Brines rightly waved away appeals for a penalty but a furious Suso tried to start a barney with Tokely by barging into the Caley defender.

A war of words followed which seemed to waken the players from their slumber and the tempo of the match began to quicken.

The introduction of Kyle also helped liven up proceedings with the striker coming on after an injury to Ian Black and the big man soon began to shake up the Caley backline.

But it was the home side who struck the first blow in 37 minutes when Stuart Duff's superb through ball found Eric Odhiambo in space at the edge of the box.

Kello raced off his line to meet him but Odhiambo flicked the ball over the Hearts keeper before drilling home from 15 yards.

That lifted the game and suddenly Hearts looked more of a threat themselves as they desperately tried to work their way back into the match.

And it didn't take them long with a Templeton free-kick forcing Innes to slice into his own net under the challenge of Kyle.

The second half was to prove much better and Inverness went at Hearts from the kick-off with a superb mazy run from Rooney nearly creating another goal.

The Irish striker sped to the bye-line and his low cross deflected off Hearts defender Ismael Bouzid only for Kello to pull off a superb reflex save.

That was to prove crucial as Hearts took the lead shortly afterwards.

Suso's corner was flicked on by Kyle and Stevenson was there to fire a downward volley in off a post. But Inverness were still a threat on the break and Rooney should have levelled in the 58th minute.

The Caley hitman beat the offside trap only to fire hopelessly over the bar from 10 yards.

Hearts then had a decent claim for a penalty waved away as Elliot appeared to be hauled down by Chris Innes but again Brines was having none of it.

The away side didn't have long to wait though before they got the crucial third goal with Suso outstripping Tokely on the flank in 69 minutes before cutting the ball back for Elliot who netted with an easy tap-in.

Challenge That completed a comfortable win for a Hearts side that looks well set up to churn out the results needed to challenge for third place this term.

But for Caley it continues their poor home form in the SPL.

Inverness won just four out of 19 games at the Tulloch stadium before being relegated from the top flight two years ago and they have still to pick up a point at home this time round.

But Thistle's scorer Odhiambo said: "We're a different side from the one that went down and we don't want our home form to affect us again.

"We can't explain why we do better away from home but we know it has to change and hopefully in the coming months we will."

Taken from the Daily Record

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