London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2012-13--> All for 20121215
<-Page <-Team Sat 15 Dec 2012 St Johnstone 2 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John McGlynn <-auth PAUL FORSYTH auth-> William Collum
[R Vine 16] ;[S MacLean 60]
16 of 020 John Sutton 15 ;Andrew Driver 38L SPL A

Hearts ‘tighter as a team’ due to off-field woes, claims Andy Driver

Published on Monday 17 December 2012 00:00

TWELVE months ago, the Hearts players were supposed to be distracted by wage delays but they carried on regardless. This season, despite tax disputes, share issues and threats that the club are on the brink of extinction, the team are still here, fighting and scraping their way into another year.


St Johnstone 2 - Vine (16), MacLean (60)

Hearts - Sutton 2 (15), Driver (38)

Although their players are battling just to tread water right now – an inevitable consequence of cuts to the manager’s budget – they have not allowed the crisis to become an excuse. The Gods have tried just about the lot to put them off but they have kept their eyes on the ball, as they showed in a hard-fought 2-2 draw at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.

“I think we’ve experienced everything now,” said Andy Driver, scorer of Hearts’ second goal. “There’s not really much else we can go through. As players, we just have to keep our heads down. It brings us all together. We went on our Christmas night out last week and we had our best turnout for years. I think that’s a sign of us all pulling together. As a team, we’re a lot tighter, which can only be good for us in the long run.”

Driver’s goal seven minutes before half-time, after a long throw by Ryan McGowan and a flick by John Sutton, came at a crucial moment for Hearts. Although they had gone in front through Sutton’s early header, they allowed Rowan Vine to score a close-range equaliser almost immediately, and were threatening to lose their way.

Although they missed a chance to go 3-1 up early in the second half – when Gordon Smith snatched at a Sutton knock-down – they struggled to match St Johnstone in what remained of the game, and were glad to have conceded only one in that period, when Steven MacLean turned in a Murray Davidson cross.

St Johnstone’s football was better, as were their chances, but John McGlynn, the Hearts manager, had reasons for optimism. Sutton’s role in their new 4-4-2 formation has given the Edinburgh side a focal point in the box, and there was evidence all over the pitch that Hearts, like their supporters, are up for the fight.

Driver was full of praise for Smith’s workrate, as he was for all the young players who have been thrown into this mess, but his biggest compliments were for Andy Webster. However impressive the emerging talents are, inconsistency is inevitable, which makes it vital that Hearts do not lose the likes of Webster in the forthcoming transfer window.

McGlynn says that Webster holds his defence together. The manager also revealed on Saturday night that the centre-half had been doubtful with a debilitating virus. When Darren Barr hurt his shin in a clash with Paddy Cregg just before half-time, McGlynn was reluctant to take the injured player off in case Webster also had to give up. As it turned out, Barr did not appear for the second half, and Webster lasted the 90 minutes.

“He’s a leader, the kind of person that keeps the team together,” said Driver. “The way the club’s going with young guys, you need your Andy Websters. In the second half, he’s played through illness, he’s clearly not well, but he’s fighting for his team. He’s probably the most important player in the team. We’ve probably got the best defence in the league with Marius [Zaliukas] and Andy. They are quality players.”

Steve Lomas, the St Johnstone manager, had a similar tale to tell about one of his team. With four players suspended, three of them first-choice defenders, David McCracken was rushed back into the fold just four weeks after undergoing surgery on a triple fracture of his cheekbone.

In the circumstances, the aerial and physical threat of Sutton was not ideal, but McCracken responded well to the challenge, as did Tam Scobbie, playing out of position at centre-half. Add to that the 70 minutes enjoyed by Peter Pawlett, the midfielder whose loan spell from Aberdeen has been ruined by injury, and it was clear that some had benefited from St Johnstone’s depleted resources.

Pawlett, whose loan expires at the end of the year, says that his long-term plan is to return to Aberdeen but he would not be averse to extending his stay in Perth. He needs the games, starting with tonight’s much-postponed William Hill Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at Cowdenbeath.

On Saturday, St Johnstone have a league match at Aberdeen. Under the terms of his loan deal, Pawlett will not be allowed to play but he will be allowed to show his employers the league table. “It’s a bit strange going on loan to a club who are above the one you’ve left,” he said. “I’ll have to wind them up about that.”

Referee: W Collum

Attendance: 2,974


John Sutton (Hearts)

It’s no coincidence that Hearts have started scoring more goals since Sutton has been recalled to the starting line-up. They got two against Aberdeen and two in Perth. On Saturday, the big striker scored one and set up the other.

Taken from the Scotsman

<-Page <-Team Sat 15 Dec 2012 St Johnstone 2 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © |