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Rousset a giant as Hearts hold out Keeper defies slick Belgrade


9 Aug 1996

Red Star Belgrade0 Hearts0

HEARTS refused to be broken in the balmy heat of Belgrade last night, the men in yellow and black shirts stemming a tide of almost relentless pressure in this first leg of their qualifying tie in the Cup-winners' Cup.

Make no mistake about it, this was a magnificent holding job against a young Red Star side that will surely soon be moving towards the upper bracket of European football.

The Edinburgh men seldom looked like getting the away goal they had come for, and there is little doubt that the Yugoslavs will again be difficult opponents in the return leg at Tynecastle.

Now, however, Hearts must have the edge.

So, for the third successive evening, Scotland can feel well pleased with its clubs' performances in Europe.

Head and shoulders above everyone else was the giant French goalkeeper Gilles Rousset, whose display certainly was the big factor.

The Red Star players stared in disbelief as he pulled off a string of outstanding saves, while in front of him Dave McPherson played a real captain's role, marshalling the defence and looking supreme in the air.

But this was a Hearts side without a failure.

Seldom have I seen a midfield work so tirelessly, while up front little John Colquhoun and then substitute Kevin Thomas ran almost to a standstill.

It was Colquhoun who produced the first real positive action in six minutes when his shot at goal that carried just wide.

Three minutes later, when the Hearts striker was scythed down by Anic, the Yugoslavian was shown the yellow card.

Hearts' best chance came in 13 minutes when Jeremy Goss made a tremendous run down the right and then darted into the box.

His cut-back found the unmarked Colin Cameron, but he lifted the ball high over.

Five minutes later it was Rousset to Hearts' rescue when Pantelic split the defence to leave Ognjenovic with a wonderful chance.

The youngster struck the ball low and hard, but the keeper stuck out a long leg to turn it away.

In 37 minutes Rousset was a hero again when Anic sent Ognjenovic clear in the box.

The Red Star man hit a fierce right-foot drive from 10 yards, but the big keeper produced a marvellous diving save.

After the interval, Red Star pushed on again, only to be met with a solid wall of Hearts players when they approached the danger area.

In 53 minutes it was Rousset to the rescue again when Ognjenovic found himself in front of the keeper and couldn't believe it when Rousset stopped the shot.

Frail was then replaced by McManus and Rousset was shown the yellow card for complaining after he had conceded a foul inside the box for taking too many steps.

The first action by McManus was to pull down Dejan Stankovic and he, too, was booked.

Ritchie became the third Hearts booking and Zivkovic suffered the same fate when he pulled down Colquhoun.

With 17 minutes left, Thomas took over from Colquhoun, and by then there was a feeling that Hearts were going to get their reward.

But it still took a magnificent double save from Rousset two minutes from time to keep the scoresheet blank.

After the match, the keeper was in modest mood, saying: "It was a good result for us, but not a bad one for them because they didn't lose a goal.

I was determined to do well and I was pleased with my form.

"But it was more important that the team performed as a whole, and they did." Manager Jim Jefferies said: "Red Star over-elaborated a bit, but when they did get through Gilles was different class.

I'm delighted with the way we performed."

RED STAR - Milosevic, Zivkovich, Djorovic, Njegus, P Stankovic, Marinovic, Ognjenovic, Pantelic, Jovicic, D Stankovic, Anic.

Substitutes - Dragoslav, Bratic, Vanic, Vulevic, Boskovic .
HEARTS - Rousset, Frail, Ritchie, Weir, McPherson, Bruno, Mackay, Cameron, Colquhoun, Goss, Pointon.

Substitutes - McKenzie, Fulton, McManus, Robertson, Thomas.

Referee - H Albrecht (Germany).

Taken from the Herald

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