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8 of 012 Kevin Kyle 86 L SPL H

Ian Black keeps his head as temperature rises and earns best reward possible for 'wising up'

Published Date: 03 January 2011
IAN Black's Edinburgh derby could easily have been over after barely ten minutes after he was laid out by a reckless challenge from Hibernian captain Ian Murray. Instead, the Hearts midfielder not only went the distance, but emerged as one of the most important factors in his team's victory.
The midfielder rarely receives the plaudits dished out to team-mates such as Rudi Skacel and David Templeton, but as Hearts' unbeaten run has gone on, he has emerged as an increasingly mature influence on the team. He showed this on Saturday, not only in the football he played, but in the self-control he displayed in the face of what some thought was premeditated aggression from Hibernian players.

There was a time when, faced with Saturday's circumstances, Black would have been in danger of getting himself sent off for retaliation.

Although concussed by Murray, he was soon back on the field - and soon being fouled again, this time by Liam Miller. But instead of being overcome by anger and running the risk of a sending-off, Black concentrated on exacting revenge in a more lasting way, by helping Hearts to their fourth win in a row against their old rivals.

"I had a serious word with him when he came off, first of all to find out how he was," Hearts manager Jim Jefferies explained.

"I was told not to ask him too many questions. I asked him what the score was and he said 0-0, and that was enough.

"I told him 'If I catch you going for revenge I'll take you off'. I said it was a mark of respect to him that they had maybe targeted to try and upset him and get him off the pitch. I said beating them was the best way to get back at them, not by getting himself sent off, which would have made it harder for us.

"Thankfully, when Blacky went back on, he concentrated on what he has been doing well lately, which is forgetting about revenge, forgetting about nasty tackles. He was outstanding after that."

Hearts striker Kevin Kyle, who scored the only goal of the game four minutes from time, agreed with his manager that Black had become a more grown-up player.

"He's a Hearts die-hard and has followed them since he was a boy," Kyle said. "You could see what this game means to him as he just did not want to come off.

"The gaffer goes through the team and talks to each player individually and he always tells Blacky that he's maturing.

"He is wising up a bit. I didn't know him that well before, but apparently he was always making late tackles and being a bit like Ian Murray."

Warming to his theme, Kyle agreed that Hibs might well have singled out Black for special treatment and added that it was a common enough tactic. "Sometimes teams do that as you can wind people up. There are certain people in the SPL susceptible to that, Kyle Lafferty being one.

"You wind him up and you can get him sent off.

Taken from the Scotsman

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