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Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth None auth-> Iain Brines
16 of 016 Rudi Skacel 32 ;David Templeton 52 L SPL H

Hearts 2 Hamilton Accies 0

Nov 22 2010 By Anthony Haggerty

HAMILTON'S latest unsuccessful search for a third SPL win of the campaign hasn't got skipper Simon Mensing too worried.

He saw enough positive signs in Accies' Tynecastle display to suggest they can string a run together and steer themselves away from trouble.

In fact, Mensing is convinced brighter times are just around the corner for the New Douglas Park men - as long as the squad stick together.

And that's where boss Billy Reid has a job on his hands this week.

See before Mensing started waxing lyrical about the grey skies clearing in Hamilton, he spent an angry few minutes filleting team-mate Flavio Paixao over an embarrassing on-field rammy that marred Accies' day.

At 2-0 down Hamilton were awarded a spot kick and Mensing - the club's penalty taker - stepped up to take the kick only to find Paixao had grabbed the ball and wasn't about to hand it over without a heated discussion.

Paixao's antics sparked an on-field rammy among the Hamilton players and afterwards the skipper branded the Portuguese attacker a 'joke'.

Mensing's effort from 12 yards was duly saved by Hearts keeper Marian Kello but not before Paixao aimed a verbal pot-shot at the Englishman as he was running up to take the kick.

Defender Mensing also insisted it was not the first time Paixao has tried to muscle in on spot-kick duty.

Mensing's kick may have been saved by Kello but he did not miss his intended target after the match.

He said: "With Flavio, it's a joke.

"He's been at the club long enough to know I'm on penalties.

"It's not the first time he's done this and I just can't understand it.

"I missed and I take responsibility for that but it's not ideal what he did.

"I'm not happy about it and I will speak to him. The gaffer said something to him in the dressing room and I'll be having a word as well.

"Like I say, it's not the first time he's tried to grab the ball when we've been awarded a penalty.

"I don't know whether he thinks I'm just going to give him the ball.

"You'd need to ask him about it because I just have no idea what's going through his head.

"I think I'd taken eight or nine in a row without missing and I'll be taking the next one - 100 per cent.

"I actually made a good connection with the ball and sometimes you just need to hold your hands up and say the keeper made a good save.

"But had I scored it we'd have been right back in the game and searching for an equaliser."

The defeat leaves the Lanarkshire side rooted to the foot of the table but the skipper insists Accies have the character to beat the drop.

Mensing said: "I'm not worried. I thought we played well against Hearts.

"Their goals were wonder-strikes. For the first one you're happy to let him hit it from 20-25 yards but it flew in.

"I felt we were doing well up until that point and looked solid.

"Things are going against us but I really don't think we're far off it, we just need to stick together. We need strong characters and we have them here."

The day though belonged to Hearts and two men in particular.

Current No.1 Kello and legendary Jambos shot-stopper Jim Cruickshank, who passed away last week aged 69.

Kello joined in the tribute by hanging a yellow jersey - Cruickshank's favourite colour of shirt - in the net to honour the man who turned out 610 times for the Gorgie outfit in the 1960s and 70s.

A minute's silence was held in his memory before kick off.

Hearts had the game all-but wrapped up within 52 minutes when they were 2-0 up courtesy of goals from Rudi Skacel and David Templeton.

Skacel opened the scoring with a fine dipping volley from 25 yards in 32 minutes and then rising star Templeton added another to his growing portfolio by hammering a beauty into the top corner for his fifth goal of the season.

Then Kello took centre stage.

First he ran from goal in 64 minutes to deny Damian Casalinuovo. Then in 79 minutes after Paixao had been fouled by Ruben Palazuelos he dived to his left to stop Mensing's well struck spot-kick.

The save put the rubber stamp on Hearts' fourth SPL win on the spin to keep them two points ahead of Inverness Caley Thistle in third spot.

It was also Kello's fourth clean sheet on the bounce and that drew glowing praise from his manager Jim Jefferies - who was handed the perfect present for his 60th birthday today.

Jefferies said: "How fitting was it that Marian Kello saved the penalty on the day when the club remembered and honoured Jim Cruickshank? Jim was a great penalty saver and I was quoted in the papers saying that - maybe Marian read it.

"Marian has come out with Jim's favourite colour of jersey and tied it to the net by way of tribute and he ends up having a penalty to deal with and he saves it.

"I played with Jim and I saw him do that time and time again.

"It was not a badly struck penalty. The Accies player has made up his mind where he is going to put it and it is right in the corner but Marian produced a fantastic save.

"It could not have worked out better for Marian to save the penalty on the day when we paid our respects to Jim."

To cap off an emotional day Jefferies revealed the Hearts team had signed the keeper's jersey and were going to present it to the Cruickshank family.

Big Hearts indeed.

Taken from the Daily Record

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