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John Robertson <-auth Neil Irvine auth-> Mike McCurry
[G O'Connor 8] ;[D Riordan 63]
16 of 020 Lee Miller 23 ;Andy Webster 88 L SPL A

Hartley shows true heart for Robertson

By Neil Irvine
(Filed: 25/04/2005)

Match details

Hibernian (1) 2 Hearts (1) 2

Does John Robertson have what it takes? That is the question which Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov and chief executive Phil Anderton will ponder when they sit down to plot the way ahead.

So far, Robertson's managerial path at Hearts has not been a smooth one. Admittedly, the Lithuanian buy-out, the bickering about bulldozing Tynecastle and the recent, shameful dissent during a minute's papal silence are all nothing to do with Robertson.

However, putting these distractions to one side, there are many who remain unconvinced of Robertson's ability and acumen to manage. As a player, he is a Hearts legend. As a manager, there is a lack of assertiveness and presence.

"No, I don't fear for my job. No, I have not sought any meetings with the directors about the future," explained Robertson who might be expected, as someone who lives and breathes Hearts, to be breaking down doors and thumping tables to find out where he stands.

In his former management role at Inverness, there was a 'come-as-you-please, do-as-you-please' style which raised some eyebrows but, to be fair to Robertson, there was no shuffling complacency to be found in Saturday's fighting spirit.

"The players are right behind the manager," said midfielder Paul Hartley who will surely take his skills elsewhere next season. Celtic and Rangers have been mooted, but then they always are.

Here, he ran the first-half show for Hearts, spraying passes with relish and accuracy. Hartley uses his freedom to stamp his authority. Both Hearts goals were Hartley's making. Twice, the catalyst was a ball delivered with pace and menace, the first to Mark Burchill who duly flicked it into the path of Lee Miller for the on-loan striker to beat Simon Brown at the near post with a high shot.

Two minutes from time, Hartley engineered the equaliser, his free-kick slicing through the Hibs defence and onto the head of Andy Webster who glanced past Brown.

By then, the match should have been won. "We didn't kill them off when we had our chance," said Hibs manager Tony Mowbray whose side are two points ahead of Aberdeen in the race for third spot.

Like Hearts, Hibs will struggle to hold on to their talent. Derek Riordan was again outstanding, his top-corner shot for the second goal outlining his outrageous skill. A different determination was shown by Scott Brown, a midfield rottweiler who set up Gary O'Connor's tap-in opening goal.

Match details

Hearts (4-4-2): Gordon; Neilson, Pressley, Webster, Wallace; Hartley, MacFarlane (Simmons 88), Hamill, Mikolianus (Cesnauskis 70); Burchill, Miller.
Subs: Moilanen (g), Berra, Sives, Stewart, Wyness.
Goals: Miller (23), Webster (88).
Booked: Hartley, Miller, Simmons.
Hibs (4-4-2): Simon Brown (g); Glass, Caldwell, Smith, Whittaker; Shiels, A Murray, Riordan, Scott Brown; O'Connor (Morrow 72), Konte (Fletcher 72).
Subs: A Brown (g), Hogg, McCluskey, McDonald, Sproule.
Goals: O'Connor (8), Riordan (63).
Booked: Scott Brown, Konte.
Referee: M McCurry.

Taken from

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