Hearts move up the table as they sink Caley Thistle


At the start of the game both sides were going toe to toe with long ball after long ball raining down on each defence. Yet when the ball was played on the ground chances became abundant.

Ryan McGowan dispossessed Jonny Hayes after he stuttered on the ball and a perfectly placed and weighted cutback to Ryan Stevenson appeared to have given the hosts the lead. But the effort from Stevenson was scuffed and the ball was easily stopped by the Caley Thistle goalie Ryan Esson.

Inverness were not content with sitting back and trying to hold out for a draw and in the first half they were the most impressive out of the two sides. Andrew Shinnie sent a rasping 25 yard drive into the side netting and Marian Kello looked relieved as he was beaten all ends up.

The pressure did not stop there as Marius Zaliukas was almost punished for his lacklustre defending. Failing to control a pass Hayes nipped in and threaded a ball through for Tade who had all the time in the world to pick his spot. However he decided to attempt to round Kello and the Hearts stopper made an important save.

Ryan Stevenson then had another effort, this time from the edge of the area. His shot was deflected and Ryan Esson done well to save and keep a hold on the ball.

There was a case of righteous ire in the Inverness defence soon after as a drop ball was awarded, and instead of the ball being passed back to Esson, Stevenson decided to play Templeton through on goal. His effort was tame and poked straight at Esson, but that did not stop the Inverness captain Richie Foran and defender Ross Tokely from confronting the player.

Stevenson was substituted at half-time and Adrian Mrowiec bolstered the Hearts midfield who were leaking chances. 25 seconds after the restart Rudi Skacel had placed his shot beyond the reach of Esson and into the far corner. It was the fourth goal Skacel had scored this season and he was subsequently booked for his celebration.

Shinnie then fired over with another effort on goal, this time it was less impressive but it still had Kello worried.

Eggert Jonsson was lucky to avoid a second booking after he petulantly fouled Hayes. The resulting free kick led to a second goal on a windy day at Tynecastle.

Hayes crossed into the danger zone and Ross Tokely met the ball with his head and guided it into the bottom corner and left Kello stranded. The Hearts defence was static and should have dealt with the ball into the box as the Inverness defender had a lot of space to make sure his header was on target.

Inverness looked revitalised and Tansey firmly challenged Mrowiec winning the ball. The midfielder continued his run and sent a strike from 30 yards out over the bar.

Tade robbed Andy Webster and then stumbled but slipped the ball to Shinnie. The Inverness forward’s effort was saved by Kello and Hayes hit the follow-up over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

John Sutton who looked out of his depth during the game won a corner for Hearts. His shot was deflected wide after he done well to turn Chris Hogg and from the resulting corner Hearts regained the lead.

A short corner was played to Templeton who fired a devilish cross into the 6 yard box. Jonsson was on hand to nod the ball home into the top corner to restore the Hearts lead. He was perhaps fortunate to stay on the park however he made a big difference as his goal proved to be the winner for the Gorgie side.

Inverness pressed on and almost scored however the strike from Davis sailed over the bar.

The unimpressive Sutton was replaced by Mehdi Taouil which left Hearts without a recognised striker on the field which perhaps is a reason why they had not won a game since October 15th.

Hearts continued to pressure though and the hard-working Templeton fired wide. With the ball bouncing the Hearts midfielder sweetly connected with the ball from 25 yards; however it was not to be.

Ross Tokely could have snatched an equaliser late on for Inverness. Zaliukas, who made countless errors during the match, fouled Proctor and this presented an opportunity for the dangerous Hayes to deliver another wicked set-piece. His cross fell to Tokely and his headed effort on goal went just wide this time and he should have done better with the chance presented to him.

From here the game petered out and Hearts can feel fortunate that they managed to finish the game with 11 men on the pitch and to come away with the 3 points. There were many poor individual performances from the Tynecastle side and Inverness looked dangerous going forward. Hearts now move onto 22 points for the season and into 5th place in the SPL.

After the match Inverness Caley manager Terry Butcher said: “At 1-1 we should have gone on to win the game. I am disappointed to concede from a corner, but Hearts played better than us in the second half. If you concede easy goals you don’t deserve to win football matches. 17 games and no clean sheets yet tells its own story.

“It is my most frustrating season as a manager. There is no in-between with this team. They take us to the heights of the game such as winning 6-3, and then they take us to the depths. We just toss it away like that.

“Bottom of the table, no clean sheets, chances not taken. You can play well in games and still lose; if there was a gold medal for that we would win it.

“We have never had back to back wins this season, and in a tight table that would take you up the league.”

Paulo Sergio commented on their victory: “No one in the league deserved a win more than my team. It will give them confidence in themselves and their ability, and I hope this victory will encourage the players to improve themselves even more.

“The players deserved it and we have deserved different results in the last four matches. I felt the team was starting to lose confidence in themselves and I hope these three points will help.”


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