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John Robertson <-auth Archie Macgregor auth-> Craig Thomson
[D Dods 55] ;[B Wilson pen 73]
10 of 020 ----- L SPL H

Dods muscles in to leave Robertson sickened yet again

Archie MacGregor at Tynecastle
NOT unlike the effects of the virus which swept through Tynecastle last week, this game saw the Hearts players put up commendable resistance before finally being laid low. With few antibodies and even fewer able bodies to hand, John Robertson’s patchwork side mustered up bags of enthusiasm, but in the end lack of experience did for them. Two second-half goals handed the spoils to Inverness, who continued their fine run of form with a victory that was ground out rather than laced with skill.

An extended sick note, comprising no less than 23 players, having drawn merely sympathy, Hearts were forced into the sort of improvisation associated with the more avant garde forms of jazz. Robertson apparently had more goalkeepers than midfielders at his disposal going into this game. In view of the defensive frailties that unhinged them he might have wished that he could have fielded more than one of the former.

Afterwards he could not disguise his feelings that the whole affair was tinged with farce. “No disrespect to the players I had out today, but if this team had been put out for a cup tie we’d have got fined for being under strength,” he said. “People should ask the question, all we were looking for was fairness.”

Caley would argue that they could only beat whatever was set in front of them. They did so, somewhat mechanically, and now even a top-six finish is not yet beyond them. “Our goal is still about staying in this league,” said manager Craig Brewster, but our sights are on Kilmarnock.”

Whilst the peculiar circumstances of this fixture for the home side may deem it worthy of a small footnote in history, it is doubtful if much about the game itself will live on. To describe the opening 45 minutes as dreadful might seem unkind in the face of the undeniable commitment of both sets of participants, but such a worthy attribute could not disguise the paucity of finesse on view. Hearts have had a few hot potatoes to deal with recently, but none it would appear as heated as the match ball yesterday as the poor thing was whacked about the park with monotonous haste. The visitors were equally culpable and that a near total absence of goalmouth incidents resulted was almost inevitable.

Caley did come close to exploiting the lack of familiarity in the home ranks early on when a Barry Wilson cross was met with some force by Roy McBain. Only a desperate clearance by stand-in captain Andy Webster prevented his side falling into arrears after all of six minutes. Spirited application did wrest Hearts a handsome share of possession, but again there was little tangible end product.

Fortunately, matters did take a turn for the better after the interval. There was a discernable increase in the pace and whilst many of the exchanges still fell into the frenetic category we did at least have some excitement to contend with. The hosts initially looked the more likely for a short burst with Lee Miller sending a drifting header just over the bar. Then, though, came the moment when the lack of experience through the core of this Hearts side started to be laid bare. A free-kick from Richie Hart was floated into the box where the unmarked Darren Dods nodded the ball home. Given that Dods has the stature of a rugby lock forward, quite how his presence was undetected by the Hearts rearguard was an utter mystery.

The response was almost immediate and a couple of clearances from Ross Tokely, one sclaffed and the other meticulously executed, prevented what at one stage might have been a deserved equaliser. Any fightback was extinguished, however, by another misjudgement by the home side, with Christophe Berra’s pass back falling into the path of Wilson who was then tripped by Craig Gordon. Wilson then made easy work of tucking away the penalty award himself.

STAR MAN: Darren Dods (Inverness)

Player ratings: Hearts: Gordon 6, Thomson 7, Webster 6, Berra 6, Wallace 6, Hamill 7, Wyness 6, Janczyk 6 (Thorarinsson 69min, 5), Cesnauskis 6 (Pareira 63min, 6), Miller 6 (Elliot 83min, 5), Weir 6

Inverness: Brown 6, Tokely 7, Dods 8, Munroe 7, Golabek 6, Hart 7, Duncan 6, McBain 7, Wilson 7 (Fox 89min, 4),

Brewster 6 (Truntie 78min, 5), Juanjo 6 (Bayne 79min, 5) Scorers: Inverness: Dods 55, Wilson 72pen Booked: Golabek 27, Gordon 72

Referee: C Thomson

Attendance: 9,822

Taken from

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