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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Stuart Bathgate auth-> Iain Brines
[E Odhiambo 37]
11 of 013 Christopher Innes og 44 ;Ryan Stevenson 55 ;Calum Elliot 69L SPL A

Kevin Kyle turns on the style

Published Date: 19 September 2010
By Stuart Bathgate
at Caledonian Stadium
Inverness Caley Thistle 1
Odhiambo 36

Innes og 45; Stevenson 55; Elliot 69
TACTICS meant Kevin Kyle was left out of Hearts' starting line-up, and circumstances forced him into action sooner than planned. But the introduction of the big striker made the difference nonetheless, as Jim Jefferies' side fought back from a goal d own to claim the three points.

The Hearts manager reckoned he might have asked too much of Kyle following his return from injury, and on a heavy pitch decided it was wiser to begin with him on the bench. But a first-half ankle injury to Ian Black forced Jefferies' hand, and Kyle responded in style. "We looked at the two games (he had started] and thought maybe we were doing him an injustice," Jefferies said. "We thought we should maybe bring him on like we did at Hamilton and he made an impact.

"If you want to put the slant on it that I left him out and he got a wee bit peeved at it, then it was a great decision, because he's come on and been outstanding."

Hearts began with Ryan Stevenson supporting Calum Elliot up front, but as expected there was no place alongside Kyle on the bench for Rudi Skacel. The Czech international, who rejoined the Tynecastle club on Thursday, is short of match sharpness, having last played competitively more than three months ago. Although he may come into consideration for Tuesday night's Co-operative Insurance Cup tie at Falkirk, the home game against Motherwell on Saturday is a more likely setting for his eagerly-awaited second debut.

The visitors began brightly, with David Templeton looking particularly sharp down the left, but they found it difficult to translate good approach work into scoring opportunities against a well-drilled home defence. After being on the back foot for the first ten minutes, Caley Thistle came more into the game, and a promising break by Jonny Hayes was stopped illegally by Ruben Palazuelos, who was booked for pulling the winger down.

Sensing the Irishman had the measure of his opponent, Inverness started to direct more play down the right, and further fouls on Hayes by Palazuelos then Eggert Jonsson showed the trouble Hearts were having to keep him at bay.

Hayes took the free-kick from the latter offence himself, and Chris Innes met the ball with a forceful header, but Marian Kello was well positioned to make the save.

With almost half an hour on the clock, a tepid encounter began to heat up, first when the home support reacted angrily to Suso going down in the box in search of a penalty, and then when Stuart Duff needlessly picked up a yellow card for a foul on Jonsson.

Ten minutes before the break, Adam Rooney, unusually quiet up to that point, had an excellent chance to break the deadlock when he made space on the edge of the penalty area with a deft turn. As he closed down on Kello, however, Rooney was unable to get any power on his shot, and only succeeded in tapping it straight into the goalkeeper's arms.

Recognising the need to make more of an impact up front, Jefferies brought Kyle off the bench in place of Ian Black, and Stevenson reverted to midfield to make way for the target man. But no sooner was the former Kilmarnock striker on the field, than he and his team-mates found themselves a goal down.

Nick Ross made the initial break down the left, and nicked a pass infield to Duff, who swiftly moved the ball on to Eric Odhiambo. With several defenders scrambling back to close him down, Odhiambo had a lot to do, but he remained composed, dinking the ball wide of Kello before clipping it into the net from around eight yards out.

Hearts fought back quickly after the loss of that goal, and equalised on the verge of half-time after Hayes had given away a free-kick - and picked up a booking - by fouling Templeton. The winger delivered a tempting inswinger to the far post, where Kyle and Chris Innes rushed in together to meet the ball. Kyle was announced as the goalscorer, but it was Innes who got the last touch.

Hearts began the second half as positively as they had ended the first, and took the lead ten minutes in. Elliot, an insubstantial presence up to that point, fought well to hold on to possession on the right, close to the junction of 18-yard box and goal-line. His cross was headed down by Kyle into the path of Stevenson, who shot first time from a tight angle ten yards out. The ball went into the net off the post.

Caley Thistle played some of their best football of the game either side of that goal, and the Hearts defence continued to look shaky. At the other end, Elliot was unfortunate not to be given a penalty when he was held back by Innes.

That incident could have proved a turning point, for within a minute Caley Thistle had an excellent chance to equalise when Rooney was through on Kello. The normally reliable striker could do no better than shoot wide, however, and not long afterwards Hearts doubled their lead.

Kyle began the move down the right, feeding Suso.

The Spaniard jinked his way to the byeline then cut back a pass to Elliot, who confidently drilled his shot home.

The contest petered out after that, with Hearts ending up more comfortable winners than had seemed likely for much of the time. Inver ness did have the ball in the net in the dying stages, but the assistant referee had already flagged for offside.

Inverness are therefore still awaiting their first home win of the season, although on this evidence they are not doing too much wrong. "Hearts scored their goals quite easily, and we never got easy chances like that, so I'm very disappointed," Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher said. "The difference was Kyle coming on. He was a presence and bullied us and upset our back four."


Esson,Proctor, Innes (72), Munro, Tokely, Hayes, Cox, Duff, Ross (79), Odhiambo (73), Rooney

Subs used

Golabek (72), Foran (73), Sutherland (79)


Kello, C Thomson, Barr, Bouzid, Palazuelos (66), Templeton, Black (35), Jonsson, Suso (78), Stevenson, Elliot

Subs used

Kyle (35), Mrowiec (66), Obua (78)

Kevin Kyle (Hearts)

Made the difference when he came on after a difficult opening spell.


The omission of Kyle from Hearts' starting line-up.

Referee: I Brines. Attendance: 4,515

Taken from the Scotsman

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