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Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Hearts Media auth-> Crawford Allan
3 of 009 Rudi Skacel 2L SPL H

Rudi nets winner as Hearts rally back

From Hearts Media at Tynecastle Stadium

Hearts got back to winning ways with a hard-fought 1-0 home win over St Johnstone this afternoon.

Rudi Skacel's early strike was enough to give the Jambos their first win over the Saints at Tynecastle since October 2001.

Jim Jefferies made five changes from the side that lost at Celtic Park in midweek. Suso Santana made his return from injury, whilst Craig Thomson, Ian Black, David Obua and Gary Glen were given a chance to impress from the start. Out went David Templeton, Stephen Elliott, Eggert Jonsson, Ryan Stevenson and Adrian Mrowiec.

Any suggestions that Wednesday's disappointment would affect the Jambos were dispelled after just two and a half minutes. Craig Thomson found space on the right hand side and sent in a dangerous low ball across the penalty area, where the on-rushing Rudi Skacel arrived to steer home his eighth of the season.

Suso had an excellent chance to double the advantage six minutes later after Lee Wallace's delivery from the left found the winger completely free at the back post. His heavy touch allowed Enckelman to smother the ball, although this could be excused given his lack of action recently.

Skacel was clearly in the mood for more goals, and his 17th minute volley was well struck, although lacked the accuracy required to trouble Enckelman.

The Perth side fashioned their first sight of goal after 25 minutes. Liam Craig's ball from deep picked out Murray Davidson's run, although the ex-Livingston man couldn't direct his volley on target.

Colin Samuel tried his luck with a near post effort after 37 minutes, although recent Slovakian call-up Marian Kello dealt with it comfortably.

Both fullbacks were getting forward to good effect for Jim Jefferies' side, and Lee Wallace managed to pick out Gary Glen two minutes before the break, although the young striker was under pressure as he attempted to stab the ball home.

Hearts continued in the same attacking vein after the restart, Skacel breaking from midfield and releasing Suso, who fired wide.

Substitute Stevie May attempted to test Kello with a stinging right foot shot on 51 minutes, although the Hearts 'keeper as happy to see the ball wide of his right-hand post.

Skacel should have had his and Hearts second two minutes later. Neat play between Glen and Wallace allowed the left back to hit the by-line. He in turn picked out Skacel who had the goal at his mercy, although he side footed the ball straight at Enckelman from 12 yards.

Suso was next to have a go just after the hour. Having drifted infield, he neatly turning Duberry on the edge of the area before unleashing a right foot shot that Enckelman could only parry before the danger was cleared.

JJ made a double substitution after 67 minutes, and arguably the biggest cheer of the afternoon went up as Andy Driver came on for his first appearance of the season after his lengthy injury lay off.

A scrappy last 20 minutes produced more effort than inspiration as Hearts sought to see the match out, with strong challenges going in from both teams.

Stephen Elliott found himself with an opportunity with two minutes to go after Thomson picked him out, but the Irishman failed to keep his shot down.

He had an even better chance 30 seconds later after some fantastic play by Driver on the right, although "Two Ts" couldn't sort his feet out in time to connect with the winger's cut back.

A nervy four minutes of stoppage were successfully negotiated and the Jambos secured a deserved three points to give themselves a 15 point cushion in third place.

Hearts: Kello, C Thomson, Bouizd, Zaliukas, Wallace; Black, Palazuelos, Skacel (Stevenson 76); Suso (Driver 67), Obua, Glen (Elliott 67). Subs not used: Balogh, Jonsson, Mrowiec, Novikovas,

St Johnstone: Enckleman, Mackay, Morris, Duberry, Millar, Parkin (Taylor 39), Craig, Anderson, Maybury, (May 39) Davidson, Samuel (McDonald 72). Subs not used: Smith, Adams, Reynolds, Caddis.

Referee: Crawford Allan

Top man: Lee Wallace

Hearts World

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