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Craig Levein <-auth Paul Kiddie auth-> John Rowbotham
[S Dobbie pen 80]
15 of 016 Craig Sives 41 ;Mark de Vries 63 ;Dennis Wyness 81 Other Cup H

Confidence restored by cup win - Wyness


HEARTS star Dennis Wyness today insisted the Bank of Scotland Festival Cup triumph over Hibs has helped exorcise the ghosts of Fir Park.

The Gorgie outfit retained the trophy won at Easter Road last season with a comfortable 3-1 victory over their visitors at the weekend, goals from Craig Sives, Mark de Vries and Wyness completing the Tynecastle win.

Although the game had lost much of its appeal before a ball had been kicked with so many first-team stars either out injured or away on international duty, Wyness reckons the Hearts players had extra motivation to get the right result after the shambolic performance seven days earlier against Motherwell.

Craig Levein had watched his men produce one of their worst displays during his tenure as boss in Lanarkshire, the Steelmen coasting to a 2-0 win and three vital SPL points without having to move out of second gear.

There may have been little at stake on Saturday as the arch rivals went head-to-head in Gorgie but with that defeat very much fresh in the memory, the hosts knew it was important to return to winning ways sooner rather than later.

Although nowhere near what could be described as a first-team starting XI this season - Scotland internationalists Steven Pressley, Andy Webster and Craig Gordon were among a host of regulars missing against Hibs - Wyness insisted it was important from a psychological perspective to rekindle that winning feeling.

"It was a very, very poor display against Motherwell at Fir Park," he said.

"It was therefore important for us to bounce back on Saturday and that is what we did. It may have been a friendly but it’s always nice to beat Hibs and I don’t think anyone could argue we didn’t deserve to win.

"We totally dominated the match, created lots of chances and thoroughly deserved it. There were obviously a lot of players missing but it was still a good victory.

"We have a big game coming up against Rangers this weekend and it was important to put that Motherwell result behind us."

The month of September promises to be a huge challenge for Levein and his men - and Wyness is eager to play his part.

Following the visit of the Glasgow giants, Hearts face Braga home and away in the UEFA Cup, Kilmarnock in the CIS Cup as well as Dunfermline and Inverness Caley Thistle in the league - six games in 19 days which would test even the largest and most resilient of squads. Wyness, whose 81st-minute strike on Saturday clinched victory for Hearts, has been scoring goals for fun in the reserves but has yet to find the back of the net for the senior team with Ramon Pereira and Graham Weir having won their manager’s vote to kick-off the campaign in attack in the absence of the injured De Vries. But while he would have been delighted to have started the campaign, 27-year-old Wyness is prepared to bide his time. "I have scored a few for the reserves but I’d rather not have scored any if it had meant me netting for the first team.

"Hopefully I will get my opportunity and make the most of it. I can’t really complain, though, because Ramon and Weiry have done well. With Mark now on his way back the competition will be fierce but that should be good for the team. I will just have to be patient and keep scoring in the reserves and wait for my chance. Hopefully that may come this month, which has some huge games for us.

"We have Rangers on Sunday followed by Braga. We also have Killie in the CIS Cup as well as Dunfermline at East End Park and Inverness at home.

"There are lots of big games and there is lots to look forward to and I’m really hoping I can play my part if called upon."

Levein will be hoping to see De Vries involved in as many of those games as possible, the giant striker having made a stunning impact on his return from a hamstring injury on Saturday.

His first touch of the ball after replacing Calum Elliot after an hour was a header which gave Alistair Brown in the Hibs goal no chance.

Levein has been desperate to have the Dutchman fit again and his mere presence on Saturday underlined just what Hearts have been missing in the opening weeks of the season.

"Mark came on at a corner and headed a goal with his first touch," said Wyness. "I don’t think he could have dreamed of a better return. There is no doubt he adds a different dimension to our game. He is a big lad, good in the air and on the deck. He also holds the ball in well and is a real asset for us.

"We have really missed him and hopefully he can get back fit again, stay in the team and score some goals."

Doing so, of course, may make it more difficult for Wyness to force his way into things, with Pereira, Weir and himself basically slugging it out for the role of strike partner.

"I will just have to be patient and see what happens," he said. "Obviously I’d have preferred to have started the season as a first choice but it didn’t work out that way and I now have to play a waiting game."

Taken from the Scotsman

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