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Home & Away: Hearts 2-2 Inverness Caley Thistle (2-4 pens) League Cup Semi Final

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In the second League Cup semi final game which took place on Sunday, nine man Inverness Caledonian Thistle defeated Hearts on penalties after neither side could be separated during the 90 minutes nor extra time.

Editor Andy Muirhead questions two fans – a Hearts & a Caley Thistle fan – on the game. First up is dejected Jambo Jonathan Slatter, followed up by a buzzing Caley Thistle fan Jamie Kyle.

Hearts fan – Jonathan Slatter

What is your overriding feeling following the defeat to Caley Thistle?

Deflation. To be so close to a cup final, especially in our situation, against nine men. We shouldn’t be losing that. The moment Caley equalised, the overriding feeling has been of deflation and it’s stayed that way since.

Do you think the scoreline told the story of the match? Should it have went to penalties?

If it had been a Premiership match, a point a piece would probably have been fair. Inverness had been the better side until Jamie Hamill put his stamp on the contest. From then on, we controlled the game in normal time and should have held onto the ball better at the end. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. Then in extra time we didn’t put enough pressure on the Caley backline, relying on a weary Paterson to cross balls in but his legs had gone by that stage. Credit to Inverness, they dealt with everything that they had to but Hearts should have done so much more.

Who starred and who flopped for your side?

Despite the critics, Jamie Hamill ran the show for Hearts. He was instrumental in the comeback and guiding our youngsters through the game. His first goal did take a lucky deflection but it was a well worked free kick and then his second was sensational. As for flops, I thought our defence was poor. Danny Wilson looked nervous with all the pressure on his young shoulders, leading the backline and the whole team. I also thought Dylan McGowan and Kevin McHattie lacked the pace to deal with Inverness’ threat down the wings.

What did you think of the overall performance of the match officials?

It’s like a broken record, but I thought they were poor. I’ve still not watched it back but they seemed to be poor for both sides with Hearts not getting many decisions despite Inverness’ over-physical play at times, while both red cards for Inverness were debatable. There was also a question about handball in the build-up to ICT’s first goal.

What did the match tell you in terms of your own team – what was missing/what should be changed or worked on more? Or was it all perfect?

I thought our shape in extra time was poor. We should have put the tiring Paterson up front and tried to get the ball into the box more towards the big men, the only time I would say a long ball tactic should have been deployed. Also, set pieces that were played into the box need to be worked on. I’d like to see Paterson given a run at right-back and Jordan McGhee given a chance at left-back as I don’t feel McGowan and McHattie have been performing well enough in those positions to be continually playing. Hopefully Sam Nicholson’s injury isn’t too serious as he has been a key player for us in our recent upturn in performances and despite his young age we should be building the team around him as we prepare for the likely scenario of the Championship next season.

Any other comments on the game as a whole?

As I wrote on View From Gorgie, the abuse of Jamie Hamill from the Hearts fans needs to stop. He performed brilliantly once again for us, and is a leader who never hides in the game. Hopefully “supporters” of the Jambos realise this soon before they chase him out of the club ahead of next season.

Also credit to the Inverness players for getting back in the game and then seeing it out to penalties. All the best to them in the final.

What now for Hearts? Can they take their cup form into the league and somehow stave off relegation?

This season has taken its toll on the youngsters at our club and the semi-final was just another one that will undoubtedly damage the young players fragile confidence. Yet, it’s how they mentally respond to these trials that will determine whether they make it at Hearts, or even in the game.

Next season will be a fresh start for the club with fan ownership and as a Hearts fan I can only hope that the lads can push on and get a few good results between now and the end of the season to get some confidence flowing heading into next season.

Inverness Caley Thistle fan – Jamie Kyle

What is your overriding feeling following the victory over Hearts?

A feeling of sheer happiness and excitement. It is the first major cup final that the club has reached and it has created a real buzz for the fans.

Do you think the scoreline told the story of the match? Should it have went to penalties?

I don’t believe the scoreline tells the story. Inverness had multiple chances to kill off the game and it was the red card of Warren that turned the game upside down. However, I felt Inverness could’ve killed the game off much earlier with their chances.

Who starred and who flopped for your side?

I have to say nobody flopped. It was an unreal performance from everyone on the park and I am sure all Inverness fans will agree. Perhaps Draper’s passing in the first half was slightly slack but he made amends. My stand out players would have to be Graeme Shinnie and Greg Tansey. Shinnie had the game of his life and it was a real shame for him that he missed his penalty.

What did you think of the overall performance of the match officials?

Overall I felt the performance was poor. Within the first five minutes, Hearts could’ve gone a man down with a reckless challenge, but they didn’t. I agree with Warren’s first yellow but he hardly touched the player for the second. Meekings challenge was late yes, but it was not in a threatening position and never a red card in my view.

What did the match tell you in terms of your own team – what was missing/what should be changed or worked on more? Or was it all perfect?

It told me that they never give up. The spirit was immense and even with nine men they stayed in the game. Unbelievable effort.

Any other comments on the game as a whole?

It was incredible. Best football game I have ever experienced. To score a 95th minute goal with nine men is something you could never imagine.

And for the final against Aberdeen – what would you be looking for from not only the manager but the players?

With our two starting centre backs missing it will be a huge challenge for the gaffer to pick a squad. However, as long as the players give it their all I am sure we will be in with a shout. If we can win a semi-final with nine men then we can win the final!

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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