London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 11 Jan 1992 Hearts 0 Aberdeen 4 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Joe Jordan <-auth Ian Paul auth-> Brian McGinlay
[E Jess 39] ;[S Booth 51] ;[P Mason 65] ;[E Jess 69]
1 of 001 ----- L Premier H

Aberdeen find the right blend: Jess and Booth fulfil promise

Ian Paul

13 Jan 1992

PERHAPS I am doing them an injustice but my suspicion is that a fair percentage of the healthy crowd of Aberdeen fans who turned out at Tynecastle on Saturday were prepared to harangue the club again if, as they maybe expected, the team had gone down to Hearts.

In light of the 4-0 win by their own team, therefore, I was disappointed not to see banners of the 'Smith Must Stay' variety.

The manager himself has not been enamoured by the press criticism of his team over recent weeks but no man in his position ever is and even the most phlegmatic have been known to lose rationale in these circumstances.

However he felt before the game, Smith must have been thrilled afterwards -- indeed, he more or less said so in his very brief dissertation -- and any questioning of his side's worth is easily flattened by displays of such quality as was given against the league leaders.

Even allowing for Hearts problems with a stomach bug and naive defensive play, this was a brilliant afternoon's work by Aberdeen.

Simply, they were terrific.

Agile and professional in defence, commanding in midfield, and exciting up front, they were as good as Smith knows they can be.

The two young men whose skills and star quality the manager has trumpeted for a long time fulfilled all of his hopes in one afternoon.

Scott Booth was very good but even that was second best on this occasion beside the brilliant all-round display of front running given by Eoin Jess.

The Aberdeen-born striker, who was 22 early last month, can be happy in the knowledge that, if he sticks with the dedication demanded, he is on his way to stardom.

On this form he cannot be omitted from the Scottish squad and my bet is he will be a candidate for a regular place in the side by the time the lads head for Sweden in June.

Certainly he has fully earned his place in the preparatory games.

Booth might get a chance, too.

Like Jess, he is fast maturing into a splendid striker.

He might score a fair number of goals this season but he would concede that it is unlikely that any will better Jess's opener at Tynecastle.

After a clearance by substitute Gary Smith evaded McLaren, Jess flicked the ball over Dave McPherson and ran through the middle towards goal.

Tosh McKinlay and Craig Levein closed in from the flanks while McPherson and McLaren chased him from behind but the young man took his time, unruffled by the posse closing in, and chipped the ball out of the reach of Henry Smith.

Aberdeen had lost their most experienced man by then, Alex McLeish being forced to leave the field, but his replacement, Gary Smith, did a fine job.

One of his interceptions, when Ian Baird tried to touch home a rebound after a fine save by Theo Snelders, was instrumental in dousing Hearts' ambitions of a comeback.

Those disappeared altogether, of course, after Booth added a second goal soon after the interval.

Inevitably, as Hearts threw defensive organisation to the wind in an attempt to save the game, Aberdeen took full advantage with some thrilling breakaway play, the first of which produced the Booth goal.

Hans Gillhaus, who revelled in the front exchanges with Booth and Jess, sped down the right, deceived McPherson with his sudden halt, and laid the ball in front of Booth.

His shot hit Levein on the arm before spinning away from Smith.

The next piece of smartness came from Paul Mason, who enjoyed one of his best games for a while.

He ran from midfield with the Hearts defence backing up and finally splitting to leave only McPherson between the Englishman and goal.

Mason neatly sidestepped the defender and sent his left-foot shot wide of the keeper.

And so to the final goal, again from Jess.

He began the move with a flick to Gillhaus, who made ground before pushing the ball in front of Mason.

It was then intelligently touched back to Jess who finished what he had started.

The Hearts supporters would disagree, but to any neutral it was exhilarating play.

For a team without two or three important players it was especially worthy, but maybe this particular blend of Scots and English grit and Dutch ingenuity was nearer what is needed than even Alex Smith realised.

At anyrate, on this form they will be formidable opponents for Rangers in the Tennents Scottish Cup tie at Pittodrie on Wednesday week.

Hearts might not play as foolishly again but the fact that three players had stomach pains before the game could not have helped their cause and maybe they had been deceived by the recent poor results of Aberdeen into thinking the Pittodrie lot had lost their edge.

If so, they got it wrong.

Taken from the Herald

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