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Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Barry Anderson auth-> Iain Brines
4 of 016 Rudi Skacel 32 ;David Templeton 52 L SPL H

Hearts 2- 0 Hamilton: Clean sheet helps Jambos stay in winning form
ANOTHER victory and another clean sheet maintained Hearts' seemingly unstoppable momentum in the SPL as Hamilton were dispensed with at a rain-sodden Tynecastle.

Two outstanding goals, one apiece for Rudi Skacel and David Templeton, were the key factors, although Jim Jefferies had goalkeeper Marian Kello to thank for a late penalty save from Simon Mensing.

This was not as straighforward as might have been expected at kick-off, with Hamilton bottom of the league and Hearts flying high in third. Patience and some expert finishing were necessary to secure three points, and in that respect it was three points well deserved.

Skacel struck the opener with a quite phenomenal first-time lob over Tomas Cerny, the Hamilton goalkeeper, and early in the second half Templeton finished with conviction from the edge of the penalty area. The visitors might have guaranteed an interesting finish had Mensing converted his 80th-minute penalty after Ruben Palazuelos was ajudged to have fouled substitute Flavio Paixao, but he was denied by Kello's firm left palm.

After a minute's silence in honour of the former Hearts goalkeeper Jim Cruickshank, who passed away in the early hours of Friday morning, the game began at a high tempo with rain ensuring a glistening surface. Skacel's free-kick deflected wide of goal off the Hamilton wall on ten minutes, and the pace settled slightly thereafter.

Skacel's powerful volley was held confidently by Cerny at the midway point of the first half. The visiting defence were marshalling the three-man opposition attack well in a match frequently interrupted by niggling fouls and infringements, and it required a moment of inspiration to open the scoring.

Skacel provided it. A bouncing through ball evaded Hamilton's Martin Canning and landed in front of the Czech midfielder for an instinctive dipping volley which soared over Cerny and into the net. It was a second of genius quick thinking matched by the quality of the execution.

Hearts finished the game as a contest when Templeton arced a beautiful finish into the top corner seven minutes after the interval. Kevin Kyle's header from Skacel's corner was cleared straight to the diminutive winger, who returned it with interest past the helpless Cerny.

With a two-goal cushion and Hamilton toiling to fashion a clear chance, the added bonus of a fourth consecutive clean sheet came into focus for Hearts. It was encouraging to note bodies being thrown in front of anything remotely resembling a shot from the edge of Kello's box. Gavin Skelton got through with a left-footed volley on 63 minutes which the Slovakian held comfortably. Moments later, Kello emerged sprightly from his goal to slide and block Damian Casalinuovo's strike from Dougie Imrie's intelligent low cross.

After Ian Black departed with an injured knee to be replaced by Ryan Stevenson, Hamilton received a lifeline back into this match. Flavio Paixao fell inside the penalty area after clipping the leg of Palazuelos in the act of shooting, and referee Iain Brines pointed instantly to the spot. If the award was soft, Kello's breathtaking save was justice. The goalkeeper sprung to his left to parry Mensing's fiercely struck penalty and preserve what is currently the SPL's meanest goals-against column.

Hearts (4-3-3): Kello; Jonsson, Bouzid, Zaliukas, Palazuelos; Black (Stevenson 76), Skacel (C Thomson 84), Mrowiec; S Elliott (C Elliot 84), Kyle, Templeton. Subs: MacDonald, Barr, Novikovas, Glen.

Hamilton (3-4-1-2): Cerny; Canning, Elebert, Mensing; Graham (Gillespie 76), Goodwin, Skelton, Buchanan (F Paixao 67); McDonald (M Paixao 67); Casalinuovo, Imrie. Subs: Murdoch, Kirkpatrick, Routledge, Lyle.

Referee: Iain Brines.

Attendance: 12,620.

Taken from the Scotsman

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