London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2004-05--> All for 20050430
<-Page <-Team Sat 30 Apr 2005 Hearts 0 Motherwell 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth Stuart Bathgate auth-> Iain Brines
11 of 019 ----- L SPL H

Marshall saves Motherwell and frustrates Hearts


Hearts 0

Motherwell 0

Referee: I Brines. Attendance: 9,337

A SAVE, a miss and a few fluffed chances. That just about sums up this forgettable game and why it finished goalless.

The save came from Gordon Marshall - a magnificent dive low to his right to keep out a header from Saulius Mikoliunas. The Motherwell veteran blushed afterwards when told it was reminiscent of Gordon Banks’s celebrated stop in the 1970 World Cup, but it really was an exceptional effort.

The miss was by Richie Foran from the penalty spot after Andy Webster was said to have handled in the box. Craig Gordon had judged correctly in diving to his left and might have got a hand to the ball had it been on target, but Foran put it too wide and it glanced off the post on its way behind.

And the missed opportunities? Two or three from either team on an afternoon of stalemate which finally snuffed out Hearts’ hopes of qualifying for Europe for the third season in a row.

"I thought we played well," said the Hearts coach, John Robertson. "The only thing that let us down was our final pass. It would have been a travesty if we had lost."

This was, in fact, Hearts’ best result of the season against Motherwell, even though they were able to dominate the game only intermittently. Terry Butcher’s side stuck to their task of frustrating Hearts by playing a pressing game, and, as Robertson implied, when his team did force their way into a decent position they invariably took the wrong option.

It has been, at the very least, a frustrating few weeks for the Tynecastle coach. Since Hearts played their best football of the season to beat Celtic in Glasgow, they have not managed another win. They stopped the rot with a draw in the Edinburgh derby at Easter Road, and this was at least another point, but this is far from being the surefooted conclusion to the season for which Hearts fans had hoped.

Of course, given the uncertainty over the future of the management team, it is hardly surprising that there should be a certain amount of tentativeness out on the park.

Lee Miller, for one, has found the past month a trying time. The striker, on loan from Bristol City, had hoped the move would have been made permanent by now, but instead has had to watch his present club keep hiking up the asking price for him.

"It’s a bit frustrating, but I’m just trying to blank it out," he said. "I thought it would have got sorted out, to be honest with you, but these things take time."

Having seen his career revive since his return to Scotland, Miller is keen to stay at Tynecastle, and hopes the current manager does too. "As it stands just now John Robertson is the manager. I think he’s happy with me, and I’m happy with the way he’s treating me. He’s put a lot of faith in me," added Miller. "I owe a lot to him. I’d be disappointed [if he went], and so would a lot of the boys and the coaching staff, because he’s done well this season."

So, too, have Motherwell, for whom disappointment at the penalty miss and the failure to win was more than balanced by pleasure at their overall performance since August. "Our job was to make the top six and we’ve done that," said Marshall, who is also looking forward to being involved, as he was with Kilmarnock two years ago, in the title showdown.

Motherwell’s last two games are Rangers away and Celtic at home, and either match could decide the championship. "We’re going to have a part to play, which is wonderful," Marshall continued. "I was fortunate enough to be involved in that when I was with Kilmarnock, and it was very tense."

Celtic beat Kilmarnock that day, but Rangers took the title thanks to a bigger victory over Dunfermline. If things are as tight this time around, how the Old Firm’s opposition play on the final afternoon will have a crucial bearing on the outcome of the whole campaign. Marshall knows from experience, however, that players cannot afford to contemplate the repercussions for other clubs of their actions.

"You just concentrate on your own job," said the goalkeeper, who has yet to learn whether he will be kept on at Fir Park next season. "What happens elsewhere and with other players is down to them."

As a former Parkhead employee, Marshall might be thought to favour Celtic, but he would not be drawn on the matter. "I couldn’t care less," the goalkeeper replied, knowing that Motherwell have already enjoyed a modest triumph of their own this season.

Taken from the Scotsman

<-Page <-Team Sat 30 Apr 2005 Hearts 0 Motherwell 0 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © 2005 |