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Hearts 4 Paksi 1; agg 5-2: match report

Impressive start: Paulo Sergio comfortably won his first match in charge of Hearts Photo: REUTERS

By Ewing Grahame, Tynecastle

10:07PM BST 04 Aug 2011

Football, we are constantly reminded, is a results business and further proof of that was available at Tynecastle on Thursday night.

There were many Hearts supporters unhappy about the dismissal of manager Jim Jefferies just three days earlier but the players received a standing ovation at the end of this comfortable victory which takes the Edinburgh club into today's draw for the Europa League play-off round.

His successor could not have asked for a better start, nor could he have wished for more supine opponents.

Paks were undeniably poor but Scottish fans have learned to take their pleasures where they find them and the recent embarrassments for Dundee United and Rangers rendered this success all the sweeter for the Gorgie faithful.

New manager Paulo Sergio certainly made his mark on the starting XI, leaving out Jefferies' recent signings John Sutton and Jamie Hamill.

However, Sutton was called upon after only 12 minutes to replace Stephen Elliott after the Irishman had been poleaxed by a cynical body-check from Laszlo Eger, an offence which earned the Paks captain a yellow card.

Hearts had a reasonable claim for a penalty (when Ryan Stevenson was wrestled to the ground by Tamas Sifter as he attempted to get on the end of Danny Grainger's long throw) rejected by the Polish referee.

The official cautioned Laszlo Bartha for simulation when the midfielder threw himself to the ground, although if he had shot first time when teed up by Daniel Bode instead of taking an extra touch and being crowded out he could have given Paks the lead just before the half- hour.

Galvanised by that escape, Hearts surged forward with renewed vigour and took the lead with their first effort on target.

David Templeton forced a corner on the right, Grainger floated it in and Stevenson's firm downward header beat the unimpressive Norbert Csernyanszki at his near post.

One goal was never going to be enough to soothe frayed nerves and Istvan Sipeki caused palpitations when he burst from the centre circle to fire a shot just wide.

The second goal Hearts had been seeking arrived on the stroke of half-time when Sutton played in Stevenson and he beat Csernyanszki.

Daniel Bode should have reduced the leeway immediately after the restart when he was allowed to create space for himself inside the penalty area. Fortunately for Marian Kello, the striker shot wide of his left-hand post.

It was to prove a costly miss when the home side put the outcome beyond doubt with the goal of the game. Stevenson's driven cross was controlled by Sutton, who rolled the ball into the path of Andrew Driver and he fired home via the underside of the crossbar for his first goal since March 2010.

Kello denied Paks any hope of retrieving this tie with two superb saves midway through the second half to deny Bode.

Substitute Rudi Skacel added the fourth two minutes later when the substandard Csernyanszki fumbled a long-range effort from Templeton and the Czech tapped home the rebound. Bode's late headed goal was a mere consolation.

Match details

Hearts (4-4-1-1): Kello; McGowan, Jonsson, Zaliukas (Hamill h-t), Grainger; Templeton, Black, Mrowiec, Driver (Skacel 62); Stevenson; Elliott (Sutton 12). Subs: Macdonald (g), Barr, Novikovas, Robinson.

Paks (4-4-2): Csernyanszki; T Heffler, Eger, Fiola, Balo; Sifter, Sipeki; Bartha, Kiss (Montvai 77), Magasfoldi (Csehi 53); Bode. Subs: Pokorny (g), Gevay, Meszaros, Hrepka, N Heffler. Booked: Eger, Bartha.

Referee: R Malek (Poland).

Jefferies refused foreign coach, says Romanov

Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov claims he had to take the "difficult" decision to remove Jim Jefferies as manager because the Scot refused to accept help from a European coach.

Jefferies was replaced by former Sporting Lisbon coach Paulo Sergio this week three games into the season.

Hearts secured draws away to Rangers and Hungarian Europa League opponents Paks before losing at home to Dundee United, but Jefferies paid the price for a run of one win in 15 matches stretching back to last season.

Jefferies was allowed to bring in four players of his own choosing this summer, including striker John Sutton, but Romanov was not impressed by the start to the season or the Scot's reluctance to work with a foreign coach.

Romanov told BBC Scotland: "Even at the end of last season we had this discussion. I told him we were playing typically Scottish football – long balls in front.

"Players are not creating, they are not playing good passes, we need to bring someone in who can help to change this for the better.

"We offered many times to find someone who can help him with the European game.

"Maybe he took it as an insult but that wasn't the purpose. We were trying to help, we were not looking to replace anyone, just trying to add."

Taken from

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