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Paulo Sergio <-auth auth-> Charlie Richmond
3 of 009 Jamie Hamill pen 43 ;Lee Mair og 70L SPL H

Hearts 2, St Mirren 0

Hearts fired a warning shot to their SPL rivals with a solid and stylish win over St Mirren at Tynecastle.

Both sides played a refreshing brand of short passing football throughout, with the home side looking particularly impressive going forward to record their third home win of the season.

A Jamie Hamill penalty just before half-time set the ball rolling before a Lee Mair own goal sealed a deserved victory for Paulo Sergio's side who move into fourth position in the SPL.

Hearts made two changes to the side that drew away at Inverness, introducing Eggert Jonsson and Mehdi Taouil for his first start at Tynecastle since signing during the summer.

St Mirren striker Nigel Hasselbaink gave a lively account of himself in the opening period, driving at the Hearts defence with pace and intent. However, the centre half pairing of Zaliukas and Mrowiec marshalled their box well and prevented the former Hamilton Accies striker from causing any serious problems.

With 15 minutes gone Hearts keeper Jamie MacDonald was forced into action when Steven Thomson fired at goal after finding himself in space 20 yards out. The Scot held well but will have been disappointed with his defence for allowing the St Mirren midfielder enough time to place the shot.

Hearts were content to show patience in the face of the away side's hurried approach, and almost took the lead after some neat build up play on 20 minutes. Elliott received the ball far on the right before firing a low cross that blasted off Buddies captain Jim Goodwin and almost snuck in with Craig Samson scrambling to his left hand post.

Positioned just behind lone striker Elliott, Taouil was showing an eagerness to receive the ball and run at defenders and gave a glimpse of his talents with a fine swerving effort mid way through the first half. After receiving the ball from Stevenson on the right, the Moroccan unleashed a dipping shot towards Craig Samson's top corner but the Buddies keeper did well to tip the ball over for a corner.

A worrying spell soon followed for Hearts as St Mirren edged possession and put the home side under unwelcome pressure. A glancing header from Lee Mair deep in the opposition box was the pick of the opportunities for the visitors who were showing far more urgency than Hearts.

But the home side plugged away and were given a golden chance to take the lead late into the first half. A driving run into the box from captain Zaliukas was blocked by St Mirren defender Ilias Hadded who brought down the Lithuanian with a sloppy sliding tackle. Referee Charlie Richmond immediately awarded the penalty which was powerfully planted into the net by Jamie Hamill, who retains his 100% record from the spot.

With the cushion of a one goal lead, Hearts started the second half much more comfortably as they pushed forward and forced St Mirren deep into their own half.

Some neat play on the fringes of the St Mirren box was capped off by David Obua's intelligent turn and cross, which the onrushing Ryan Stevenson was inches away from poking into the net on 60 minutes.

Ten minutes later the tireless Stevenson was offered a similar opportunity to score and this time the 27-year old made no mistake. A swooping cross from Danny Grainger on the left hand side caught the St Mirren defence napping and Stevenson showed great awareness to rush onto the ball and bundle it into the net. The final touch looked to have come off Lee Mair, but all credit must go to Stevenson for harrying the defenders and spotting Grainger's cross.

Heart's patient build up style of play was finally clicking into gear and the home side were playing some impressive football. Taouil was proving particularly creative and the former Kilmarnock man was unlucky not to find the unmarked Elliott after skipping past Goodwin and firing a probing ball across goals on

With a comfortable lead ahead of them, Hearts were afforded the chance to make some changes with Paolo bringing on John Sutton and David Templeton for Touil and Elliott.

Templeton brought out his bag of tricks with a fine run and cross on 85 minutes but the ball was just too fast for the Hearts strikers, who were happy to hold out for a comfortable 2-0 win.

Hearts: MacDonald, Hamill, Zaliukas, Jonsson, Grainger; Mrowiec, Black; Stevenson, Taouil (Templeton 75), Obua, Elliott (Sutton 80). Subs not used: Balogh, Robinson, Skacel, Novikovas, Smith.

St. Mirren: Samson; Van Zanten, Mair, Goodwin, Thomson; McGowan (McLean 55), Teale, Tesselaar; Haddad, Hasselbaink (McKee 55), Thompson. Subs not used: Smith, Barron, McAusland, McShane, Carey.

Referee: Charlie Richmond

Top man: David Obua

Hearts World

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