London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 11 Dec 2010 Hearts 5 Aberdeen 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Moira Gordon auth-> Mike Tumilty
5 of 008 David Templeton 5 ;Rudi Skacel 9 ;Stephen Elliott 51 ;Rudi Skacel 58 ;Arvydas Novikovas 78L SPL H

Picking up where they left off
Published Date: 12 December 2010
By Moira Gordon
at Tynecastle
Hearts 5

Templeton 5; Skacel 9,60; Elliott 51; Novikovas 77

Aberdeen 0

• Opening salvo: David Templeton takes a tumble in the Aberdeen danger area before scrambling up to fire the ball home for Hearts' opener. Photograph: Craig Williamson/SNS

SO MUCH for simply taking in the game from the stands. Motherwell had wanted Craig Brown to wait until after next Saturday's head-to-head to assume an active role as the new Aberdeen gaffer. In the end, he couldn't even wait until the finish of this match.

With two goals conceded to Hearts within the first nine minutes and more looking likely to follow, it all proved too much for the new management team. After all, they have only signed a two-and-a-half-year contract and on this evidence, every single minute of that term will have to count if they are to succeed in returning some kind of glory to the north east.

Brown and his assistant Archie Knox had started the match spectating from the stand but it took the latter less than 15 minutes to venture down to the dug-out and suggest some tactical tweaks. And by the time half-time arrived to offer the visitors some respite, Brown himself had paid the technical area a visit. He addressed the side at half-time but if he needed any insight into how difficult it is to drill a message and a winning mentality into the minds of his inherited squad, this gave him a clear indication.

Within 15 minutes of the restart Hearts had scored a further two goals and at that stage it looked as though they could be on the receiving end of another highly embarrassing scoreline.

After an enforced lay-off due to the bad weather, both teams picked up where they had left off. Aberdeen had suffered six defeats on the bounce, including that 9-0 thumping by Celtic, and it had earned their manager, Mark McGhee, the sack. Hearts, by contrast, had earned their boss, Jim Jefferies, the manager of the month award for November, winning their last four games including victories over Celtic and derby rivals Hibs without even conceding a goal.

Based on those statistics, this match should have been stopped before it had started. In reality it was indeed over almost as soon as it did. Five minutes in and there were appeals for a penalty after David Templeton was taken down in the box by Chris Maguire, but while referee Mike Tumilty was waving away the appeals, the felled youngster roused himself sufficiently to stab an effort goalward. Andrew Considine tried to stop it on the line but while the referee seemed unsure, his standside assistant was already galloping back to the halfway line in no doubt that the ball had crossed the line.

Four minutes later and Hearts had added a second as they got into their stride.

Aberdeen were ripped apart as the home side took control, and showed a swagger which indicated the lay-off had done nothing to blunt their self-belief. In the end it was Templeton who squared the ball for Rudi Skacel who was coming in unchecked at th
e back post and he slotted a side-footed finish beyond Langfield. Of all the problems needing addressed at Pittodrie, the defence is the most glaring issue. But, for all that Aberdeen were woeful, Hearts were tremendous. There was no sign of rustiness from a team playing their first game in three weeks and the chants of "easy, easy" with which Hearts punters taunted their counterparts summed things up perfectly.

After all this was a club who can't score goals - another blank match means it is now 401 minutes since the Dons scored - up against a side who are as miserly as they come these days. Before the match Jefferies had warned his players that with a new boss to impress, Aberdeen would show greater application than in previous head-to-heads and it was their job to match them. "Then it would be down to quality and I felt we had the better quality." They did, in every area of the park, which is why Hearts are now just six points behind Celtic and chasing second place, while Aberdeen are propping up the league and looking nervously down.

The second half started and although Brown had called for character in his half-time team talk and tried to lift spirits by reminding them that a quick goal would get them back in the mix, within six minutes that all went by the wayside as Hearts grabbed a third.

Totally dictating play, they converted that superiority into goals. Stephen Elliott was the man with the finish, a stooping header from close range, and then Skacel added his second of the game and seventh of the season.

Hearts were now knocking the ball about the pitch, retaining possession for long spells and leaving a clearly broken Aberdeen team fearing a reprisal of the Celtic humping. "There's a dread there, yes, and it must be in the players' minds as well. The last thing we want to do as a football club is repeat that kind of scoreline. That was made blatantly clear to the boys after the game when the manager and Archie spoke to them. The only way we'll get out of the situation we're in is to show character," said interim Aberdeen boss Neale Cooper.

That wasn't there as Hearts piled on the misery with a delightful fifth goal, from substitute Arvydas Novikovas, which was flighted into the corner of Langfield's goal. "It could have been more. We definitely know we are in a relegation battle, said a downbeat Derek Young. In the tunnel pre-match the Aberdeen captain had told his team-mates that their season started again at that moment.

They will have to start it all over again when they report for training tomorrow.


S Elliott (76)
Black (70)
Templeton (70)

Subs used

Novikovas (70)
Stevenson (70)
C Elliot (76)


Robertson (89)
Maguire (70)
Folly (64)

Subs used

Pawlett (64)
Velicka (70)
Vujadinovic (89)


David Templeton (Hearts)

No poor performers for Hearts but Templeton was again a joy to behold.


Craig Brown will now be in no doubt just how mammoth his task is.

Referee: M Tumilty. Attendance: 13,434

Taken from the Scotsman

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