London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Srce <-Type Sunday Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Craig Levein <-auth Alan Campbell auth-> John Rowbotham
[S Dobbie pen 80]
10 of 016 Craig Sives 41 ;Mark de Vries 63 ;Dennis Wyness 81 Other Cup H

Hearts 3-1 Hibs

De Vries does the business
Alan Campbell at Tynecastle

NO need for Craig Levein to damage his fist again at sunny Tynecastle yesterday, but not a lot for the Hearts manager to be enthusiastic about either. Mercifully, this Festive Cup started to spill over in the second half, turning into a routine win for Hearts over their ancient rivals.
As far as the home manager is concerned, the 61st-minute substitution of Mark de Vries for Calum Elliot did the business, the Dutch striker converting Jamie McAllister’s assist almost on the hour to put the match beyond Hibs’ reach. Without Premierleague points at stake, though, it was difficult to gauge exactly what this match meant. Hibs manager Tony Mowbray gave it short shrift after the game, going through the motions but facially conceding it didn’t mean much in the longer scheme of things.

Hearts went ahead near the end of the first half, and added to their advantage in the second. There was a late scare for the home side when Scott Dobbie converted a penalty, but Dennis Wyness bundled the ball into the net four minutes from the end to boost his own confidence and give his side the cup.

Levein, so incensed at losing three points at Fir Park last week that he left his imprint on the wall of the Motherwell dressing room, was philosophical after this stroll in the park. With Craig Gordon, Steven Pressley and Andy Webster absent on Scotland duty, and Kevin McKenna out through injury, it was left to rookies Craig Sives and Christophe Berra to shore up the defence with Tepi Moilanen behind them.

The novices were left with little to do, especially as Garry O’Connor was away with the Scotland Under-21 side, but Sives was delighted with his 42nd-minute goal. The ball flashed past Alastair Brown in the Hibs goal, and the healthy away support had a grandstand view.

The crowd was disappointing, and especially so as the Hearts Supporters Trust had organised a boycott which kept the official attendance below 8,000. The most obvious absences were in the enclosure under the main stand, which at least spared Hearts the insults traditionally flung at the directors, and chief executive Chris Robinson in particular.

Negotiations are continuing with Lithuanian businessman Vladimir Romanov who, after flirting with the two Dundee clubs and Dunfermline, is showing a deeper interest in Hearts. How the talks with Robinson, and the other main shareholder, Leslie Deans, are progressing are anybody’s guess, but the wall of silence would indicate that the Lithuanian, who did not impress his previous suitors, is serious in his intent.

Hearts, as Levein indicated, have made a decent start to the season, without building on the achievements of the last two. It will clearly be a matter of weeks, if not months, before De Vries is back at his best, and in his absence it is difficult to see where Levein’s goals are going to come from.

The Hearts manager declared himself happy with the contribution of his stand-in central defenders, and also praised the contribution of right-back Robbie Nielson.

The jury is still out, though, on Michael Stewart, the Manchester United loan signing seeming happier taking the easy option rather than breaking too much sweat.

The performance of the Hibs side was summed up by the brevity of Mowbray’s remarks. The loan signing from Chelsea, Craig Rocastle, looks a good addition to the midfield, but there was a glaring absence in the position where Grant Brebner used to patrol.

There was certainly none of the flowing football which Mowbray has promised to bring to Easter Road, although no lack of huffing and puffing on a hot Edinburgh day.

“I was pleased with the performance of the young boys,” said Mowbray, but the expression on his face indicated that there is a lot – a serious lot – of hard work still to be done at Easter Road.

05 September 2004

Taken from the Sunday Herald

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