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3 of 003 John Colquhoun 40 ;John Colquhoun 56 L Premier A

Hearts' double act once again comes up trumps


1 Nov 1993

SOMETIMES the arrival of a new player, especially if he has a big reputation, can pay dividends other than the obvious.

Maurice Johnston, for example, has not yet hit his best form with Hearts, although he has done pretty well considering the circumstances, but his presence has helped John Colquhoun to produce two fine performances, against Partick Thistle last week and in Saturday's 2-0 win over Hibs.

The fact that he scored both goals is firm enough evidence of Colquhoun's contribution, but he has been very much involved in their attacking play, perhaps thanks to the knowledge that Johnston's ability to read the game intelligently would help his own style.

At anyrate, Colquhoun begins to look like the player he was first time round at Tynecastle -- and that is not only good news for Hearts but for the game in Scotland.

The former Stirling Albion player is blessed with natural skill and attacking flair, qualities which are rare indeed in the premier division.

His second goal was a bit of a scrambled affair, but his first illustrated precisely the smart thinking that is a hallmark of his play.

Johnston challenged Hunter and when the ball broke to Colquhoun he glanced up, saw Jim Leighton just beyond the six-yard line and sent in a lob from 30 yards which dipped at the right moment.

"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't," he said later.

Colquhoun was quick to recognise the difference Johnston has made to the team.

"He has added a lot of quality.

I am certain the goals will start to come for him, but already he is playing well."

Johnston himself has lost none of his energy on the park or impudence off it.

"I nearly went into the Hibs dressing room," said the man who walked away from an agreed deal with Celtic to sign for Rangers.

He looked and sounded like a man relieved to be in business again after haing spent months in the Everton reserves.

He confirmed as much: "I am just happy to be playing football again."

He did not believe the capital derby could match the Old Firm one, but then there is no other derby in the same vein as the Glasgow one.

Johnston can count himself lucky that the quality of this Edinburgh affair was not quite as poor as usual.

There was some rough tackling, some ill feeling about the place (Hearts keeper Nicky Walker refused to shake hand with Leighton -- and that was before the game) and a couple of nasty incidents in the terracing.

Jim Weir had to walk away from the touchline as he prepared to take a throw-in, when he appeared to have been hit by coins thrown from the Hibs crowd.

It was also said later that John Robertson was hit by a pie, which seemed a bit extravagant they are not all that bad at Easter Road.

The frustration among Hibees is not difficult to understand.

This was the nineteenth derby game in succession which Hibs have failed to win close to five years of having to endure the triumphalism of the other side.

It is impossible to identify the reason for the team's continuing failure to produce form against their old rivals.

Manager Alex Miller is as mystified as anyone else.

"Our players had it in their hands to end the bad run in these matches, but you need the strength of character to get the ball down and pass it as well as battle. We just didn't do it. All we've worked for this season just went out the window. I will definitely be freshening up the side for Tuesday."

Hibs make the dangerous trip to Firhill then and will remember the hard road they had to travel before overcoming Thistle in a penalty kick decider in the League Cup quarter-final.

They will need to make much better use of possession than they did at Easter Road against Hearts.

The Tynecastle team meet Rangers at home on Wednesday, when Johnston will be trying to put one over on his old mates.

Taken from the Herald

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