London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2010-11--> All for 20101023
<-Page <-Team Sat 23 Oct 2010 Hearts 3 St Mirren 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Paul Forsyth auth-> Calum Murray
10 of 012 Rudi Skacel 2 ;Rudi Skacel 24 ;Rudi Skacel 92L SPL H

Skacel answers his critics with goals

Published Date: 24 October 2010
By Paul Forsyth
Hearts 3
Skacel 1, 23, 91

St Mirren 0

IT will pain his critics to admit it, but Vladimir Romanov probably got this one right. His decision to bring Rudi Skacel back to the club for whom he starred in 2006 paid off at Tynecastle yesterday when the Czech midfielder scored three goals, came within an inch of scoring four and, in all probability, left his manager, Jim Jefferies, chewing on a rather large slice of humble pie.

Jefferies, remember, hadn't wanted to sign Skacel, or at least, would have preferred to spend the money on someone else.

When it emerged last month that Romanov was in discussions with Skacel, Jefferies said that it couldn't possibly be about signing for the Edinburgh club. What would he do with Andy Driver? What would he do with David Templeton?

Keep them on the bench, if this is any guide. Two goals in the first half - one in the opening seconds, the other a sumptuous free-kick 22 minutes later - and a third in time added on gave Hearts their first league win at home in over six months. He even hit the crossbar between his second and third goals. "He has scored our last four at Tynecastle," said Jefferies. "It is great to have that in your locker."

Skacel, it seemed, could do no wrong. Every time, he found the net, his theme tune was reverberating around Tynecastle courtesy of The Specials. When he took a corner, they were giving him the "we are not worthy" routine.

At full-time, he threw his strip into the crowd, where a fan with a Czech flag gratefully accepted.

It was all too much for St Mirren, who once again found themselves chasing the game, without the resources to do so.

They have now played 20 SPL away matches without a win. They haven't gathered so much as a point on their travels this season.

"We are finding it an uphill battle every week," said their assistant manager, Iain Jenkins. "We only seem to start performing when we are 2-0 down."

This time, they found themselves dusting down Plan B after just 72 seconds. Suso Santana's quick and mazy run from in front of his manager's dugout ended with a pass - along the ground, it should be pointed out - to big Kevin Kyle on the edge of the penalty area. With his back to goal, the striker laid it off to Skacel whose low, left-foot shot disappeared into the bottom left-hand corner.

Suso, sometimes a frustrating winger, had one of his better games here. On one occasion, another of his jinking runs eluded three opponents before the patience of his fourth snapped. Hugh Murray was the man booked for bringing him down.

By the time another St Mirren player was shown the yellow card, Hearts were on the brink of going two up. John Potter bodychecked Calum Elliot just outside the box, referee Calum Murray completed the necessary paperwork and Skacel loitered over the dead ball. With the goalkeeper, Craig Samson, covering the left half of St Mirren's goal, Skacel coolly picked out the other, curling a spinning free-kick over the wall and into the top-right corner. His restrained celebration ended with a high-five for his manager.

St Mirren, whose manager, Danny Lennon, stood quietly at the back of his technical area, were not without opportunities of their own. When Kenny McLean slipped a pass along the edge of the penalty area, Michael Higdon could not adjust his body quickly enough, and managed only a weak shot wide. Better still was the chance that fell to Paul McGowan, whose free header was a half-hearted one straight at the goalkeeper.

Hearts, though, were much the better of the two sides in an entertaining first half, even if they needed Skacel to exploit the advantage. He almost helped himself to three in that opening period when the excellent Marius Zaliukas burst out of defence.

When the Hearts captain weighted a ball into his path, Skacel crashed an angled shot goalwards, only to see a diving John Potter deflect it on to the crossbar.

Apart from Skacel's late goal, the second half was a non-event. If Hearts didn't offer much, it was because they didn't need to. For a lengthy spell, St Mirren looked livelier than before, even showing some composure on the ball, but it never looked likely to culminate in a goal.

Aaron Mooy, an Australian who was a regular in Bolton Wanderers' reserves last season, came on to make his debut in a floating role behind the two strikers as the game degenerated into a dour midfield exchange.

If it wasn't exactly alarming the Hearts fans, it was enough to disgruntle their manager, who recognised the need to freshen things up. Elliot, who has worked up a decent partnership with Kyle in recent weeks, was too often guilty of making the wrong decision, and found himself replaced by Stephen Eliott midway through the second half.

Ian Black came on for Adrian Mrowiec, and Templeton for Suso, but it was St Mirren who manufactured a rare attempt on goal, McGowan hitting a shot so hard that Marian Kello needed two attempts to gather.

Then Garry Brady, another substitute, tried his luck from long distance, but the day belonged to Skacel, who demonstrated as much in the final seconds. In all his time at Tynecastle, he had never scored at the Gorgie Road end, but when he separated himself from a stretched midfield, he put an end to that statistic. And with his right foot as well.

No wonder he was pleased with himself.

Santana (79)
Mrowiec (71)
C Elliot (69)

Subs used
Black (71)
S Elliott (69)
Templeton (79)

Murray (79)
McLean (59)
Higdon (85)

Subs used
Brady (79)
Mooy (59)
McQuade (85)

Rudi Skacel (Hearts)

Who else but Hearts' hat-trick hero who will score a few more before the season is out.

Marius Zaliukas, whose contractual dispute is expected to be resolved shortly, was outstanding for Hearts.

Referee: C Murray. Attendance: 12,009

Taken from the Scotsman

<-Page <-Team Sat 23 Oct 2010 Hearts 3 St Mirren 0 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © |