London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 08 May 1993 Hearts 1 Airdrieonians 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Caretaker 6 <-auth William Hunter auth-> Bobby Tait
[A Smith 73]
1 of 001 Allan Johnston 72 L Premier H

Johnston jinks his way into the limelight


10 May 1993

TO be young at Hearts is one of the more optimistic places of football employment.

At Tynecastle is housed the champion reserve team.

Three of its members brightened the agreeable 1-1 draw which saw off the last premier hopes of Airdrie.

With their freshness and youthful bounce, Allan Johnston, Kevin Thomas, and Tommy Harrison softened the cruel edge of the spectacle of the Airdrie's execution.

Young Harrison looked canny and cool.

Thomas has the excellent muscular habit of directness.

He prefers the shortest route.

Offering even more to catch the eye was their mate Johnston, a shock-haired and frail-looking bundle of energy.

He caressed the ball instinctively.

He can be jinky.

Until he tired, he had the confidence to use the full area of the park.

And he showed a killer's touch, scoring his team's goal with a flying header from an expert cross by John Robertson.

Johnston's promise looked phenomenal and may even be freakish.

"He is the last of the tanner ba' players," Sandy Clark, the interim manager of Hearts, said afterwards.

Despite a mountainous performance by Alan McLaren, Hearts otherwise played like a team whose European ambitions had contracted to just enough warm Mediterranean sand to lie on.

Their finishing, being so boyish, was weak and they fell to a sucker scrappy goal by Andy Smith right after Johnston had scored.

Airdrie scrapped bravely, Smith's goal atoning for a couple of earlier headed misses.

To begin with, Airdrie used a somewhat complex tactical ploy for them of playing Jim Sandison in front of Paul Jack as sweeper.

Presumably, they were looking for a quick lead.

When it failed to come, they never looked like saving the day.

Although Owen Coyle could occupy the attention of two, and sometimes three opponents, Hearts remained able to populate their defence.

John McVeigh, Airdrie's assistant manager, suggested that the success of last season had spoiled some players for this one.

"People were doing what they thought they were good at instead of what they are good at," he said.

The suspended Kenny Black was sorely missed.

As Airdrie moved down a division, two of their stalwarts, Evan Balfour and Chris Honor, limped from the park to hospital.

Airdrieonians will be missed from the premier circuit, if only because of their old-fashioned ways.

Their Broomfield Park was designed by whoever were the architects of trench warfare in the First World War.

But nobody with sense fancied for it for a venue.

Romantic names attach to Airdrie, yet their strength is as a workaday wayside club.

On Saturday, the season had sapped their strength.

They missed Walter Kidd and the majestic Augustus Cassius Caesar.

Taken from the Herald

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