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Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Hearts Media auth-> Iain Brines
3 of 016 Rudi Skacel 32 ;David Templeton 52 L SPL H

Hearts won their fourth game on the trot with a 2-0 win over Hamilton at Tynecastle today.

Two sublime strikes from Rudi Skacel and David Templeton were enough to earn the home side the points.

Jim Jefferies kept the same starting eleven for the fourth consecutive game. The new 4-3-3 formation was bringing goals, victories and clean sheets - so there was clearly no reason to change. Hamilton started with playmaker Doug Imrie up front alongside Damian Casalinuovo as Billy Reid went for a 3-5-2 system.

Both teams observed a minutes silence before the game following the passing of a true Hearts legend - former goalkeeper Jim Cruickshank. Marian Kello hung up a Hearts Jersey with the number 1 and "Cruickshank" on the back.

The opening 30 minutes of the game weren't nearly as comfortable as pre-game expectations suggested. The match was very similar to the way in which Kilmarnock came to Tynecastle, dominated possession and left with all three points.

Hamilton's 3-5-2 placed extra emphasis on the five in the middle as David Buchanan and Andrew Graham operated more as wide midfielders rather than wing-backs. They used their options across the middle very well, stroking the ball about with ease from right to left and frustrating the home fans.

Without much of the ball Hearts struggled to get the ball to playmakers Rudi Skacel and David Templeton. But whenever they got possession both players looked dangerous.

Ten minutes into the match Skacel had a free-kick deflect just wide of Tomas Cerny's left hand post. Then on 24 minutes the winger was in the right place to drill a shot goalward following a lax clearance from Hamilton captain Simon Mensing. Cerny misjudged the direction of the ball and almost dived past it, but he recovered to block and hold the shot.

Hamilton didn't heed the warnings and found themselves a goal down on 32 minutes to a brilliant strike from Skacel. The Czech internationalist was played through on the left hand side and, with the ball bouncing, sent a looping first time shot that dived over Cerny and into the far corner of the net.

Hamilton continued to see a lot of the ball for the rest of the half. But in the end, for all their efforts in the first 45 minutes the visitors failed to muster a chance on goal. Of the two teams Hearts came closest to doubling their advantage when Bouzid headed over from six yards.

Hearts started the second half a different side. For the first twenty minutes after the interval the ball rarely left the Hamilton half. The home side were clearly given some stern words during the break.

In that time Hearts doubled their advantage through an equally impressive strike to the one in the first. David Templeton swivelled with the ball 20 yards from goal before curling a tremendous shot past Cerny high into the net.

The game looked set to peter out but some dodgy defending from the home side lifted Hamilton's spirits. An awful looking offside trap allowed Doug Imrie and Damian Casalinuovo to run through two-on-one against Marius Zaliukas. Imrie successfully slipped the ball through for his strike partner but Marian Kello was swift off his line to block the shot.

With 25 minutes remaining Billy Reid decided to throw caution to the wind by sending on both the attacking Paixao brothers on for a centre midfielder and centre half.

Hamilton enjoyed their best spell on the game as they penned Hearts in with their attacking pressure. Then with ten minutes to go they won a penalty.

Flavio Paixao went down in the box under pressure from Adrian Mrowiec and Iain Brines pointed to the spot. Paixao grabbed the ball, insisting he was taking the penalty but captain and penalty taker Simon Mensing wrestled it away. Mensing stepped up and struck the ball to the keeper's left. The shot had plenty of power but was at a nice height for Kello who blocked the spot-kick with a terrific one-handed save.

The save was Kello's second penalty stop of the season; it preserved the clean sheet and was one Cruicky would have been proud of.

Hearts: Kello; Jonsson; Bouzid; Zaliukas; Palazuelos; Mroweic: Black (Stevenson 73); Templeton; Skacel (C Thomson 83); Elliott (Elliot 83); Kyle. Subs not used: MacDonald; Barr; CThomson; Novikovas; Glen; Elliot

Hamilton: Cerny; Canning (F Paixao 65); Elebert; Mensing; Graham (Gillespie 73); McDonald (M Paixao 65); Goodwin; Skelton; Buchanan; Imrie; Casalinuovo. Subs not used: Murdoch; Kirkpatrick; Routledge; Lyle.

Ref: Iain Brines

Top Man: Marian Kello

Hearts World

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