London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 14 Aug 1999 Hibernian 1 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies <-auth None auth-> Stuart Dougal
[R Latapy pen 42]
2 of 002 Gary McSwegan 79 L SPL A

Fire, Fury and a Big Boot

Derby Thriller marred as referee Dougal loses the plot with eight bookings

They,ve missed each other these Edinburgh rivels, and most importantly the money that flows through the turnstiles on Derby Day.

There were 15,976 spectators at Eater Road, that's not counting the four members of the Hearts' first team squad for whom seats could not be found and to spend the afternoon listening to the game on the radio in the dressing-room.

Jim Jeffries, the visiting manager, was upset about that, and much else. It would be fair to say of him, indeed he might even agree, that on match days he has all the placidity of a ticking time-bomb. There is no player in his squad who expends as much energy during the 90 minutes. He is a veritable whirlwind of motion as he shouts, geticulates, swears, buries his head in his hands and, from time to time, literally dances with rage. That is not even mentioning the half-time team talk.

The spectators felt there was alot to shout about, if not ;always to admire.

It was the kind of Hibs-Hearts encounter we have come to expect, full of fire and fury, the occasional flashes of footballing skill, but dominated by the ball booted hopefully, upfield.

Sometimes the midfield appeared to have disappeared altogether and, significantly neither Pat McGinlay for the home side, nor Steve Fulton of Hearts, both important play-makers in recent seasons, made much of a contribution.

There was a seat made available for the Rangers' manager Dick Advocaat. He would have admired the commitment of both sides yet I doubt if there was a single quake in his shoes. Still, it would have been a change for him to watch a game with so many Scottish players.

The plot was along the following lines. Hibls looked sharper in the first half and were worth an interval lead. At half time Franck Sauzee, a class act from France, retired with an Achiles tendon pull and the balance of power shifted.

Hearts encamped in the home penalty area and only the defiance of goalkeeper Oli Gottslalksson denied them an equaliser until 10 minutes from time. In the end, the Hibs fans were quite please to hear the final whistle.

Which brings us to referee Stuart Dougal, whom it was quite impossible to ignore. In a game which was almoost clinically clean he handed out cards like a Japanese salesman at a trade fair. Eight men made the book, some of them quite ludicrously so.

Darren Jackson was first on the charge sheet. A former Hibee, he knew a rough time awaited and probably put his retaliation in first. Sure he was larte with a tackle on Sauzee after 90 seconds but it was hardly vicious and a sharp word would have sufficed. Mr Dougal flashed his authority and in doing so made a rod for his own back.

Home defender Paul Lovering was carded after he was fouled but protested too much. However, the really unlucky player was Fulton. The Hibs fans, not for the first time, chanted at him, suggesting Steve was not at the front of the queue when the good looks were being handed out. They sang it more succinctly. Fulton blew them a kiss in response. Booked.

Football has always had it's banter and would be poorer without it. This time it was the linesman who waved his flag excitedly. Mr Dougal should have told him to calm down and Fulton to refrain.

At another point the ref confronted Jefferies, though if he had banned him from the dugout, where was the manager to sit?

Hibs best attacker was always going to be the West Indian Russel Latapy who glides away from the tightest of defences. He was well supported by Fabrice Henry and the German striker Dirk Lehmann, whose earlobes required to be bandaged to cover his rings. Don't they come out? Anyway,Lehmann scorned a good chance with a shot just wide, but he was crucial in gaining his side a penalty in 42 minutes. A charging run by Michael Renwick set it up, Latapy prodded it on, and Colin Cameron whipped the feet from Lehmann when he was about to strike. Latapy stroked in the spot kick.

That was hard on Cameron for he had been Hearts most skillful performer. A cracking shot from Thomas Flogel brought a fine save from Gottskalksson and he reprised that with stops from Gary McSwegan and Kevin James after the interval.

On the subject of his goalie, Hibs manager Alex McLeish was most revealing. "I have looked at a host of goalkeepers since I came here, some of them demanding big money. Oli has proved to be as good as any of them. He is better equipped now than when he first came to Scotland and you can tell that he was once a basketball player."

Jefferies was equally impressed. "They can thank him for their point. I was beginning to think he was going to have one of these unbeatable days." Not quite. In 80 minutes James at 6'7" the leaning tower of Tynecastle, made one of his regular visits to the opposing box and knocked on a cross from Flogel. McSwegan's back header was good enough to make the net.

Jackson could have pinched the points after that but sent his drive across the face of the goal. "I think a draw was just about right," McLeish insisted. "We looked the sharper side for about an hour, but the loss of Sauzee was a blow. It is quite difficult to defend against a guy as big as James, trying to guess where he will knock it down. There was a lot of passion out there today."

Jefferies, calmer but still simmering, observed it would have been a travesty if Hearts had come away with nothing. "We did very little in the first half and they had a couple of good chances, but the boys really stuck to their task after the interval. I just think you have to understand the competitive nature of Derby games. The players are sent out to challenge for every ball, particularly in the early stages. That is why the booking of Jackson annoyed me so much."

Both sets of supporters will look forward to the next meeting, at Tynecastle in December.

There is nothing quite like a derby.

Taken from the Scotsman

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