London Hearts Supporters Club

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Tall Ibrahim [B Robson 51] ;[N Hunt 60] ;[B Robson 70] ;[B Robson 78] David [4] Robertson
8 of 010 ----- L SPL H

Robson hat-trick destroys shambolic Hearts

Heart of Midlothian 0 Dundee United 4: Levein’s side run riot after two first-half dismissals
Mark Walker

Of the many, many embarrassments and lows Heart of Midlothian have suffered since Vladimir Romanov came to Tynecastle, there has been one saving grace — they’ve all happened off the pitch. This capitulation against Dundee United rectified that. Now they have shown they can be a disgrace on the park too.

Sackings, ridiculous rants, an influx of European nonentities, refusal to pay invoices. Just some of the many charges against Romanov during his increasingly disastrous stay in Edinburgh. However, the one thing he cannot be blamed for directly is what happens on the pitch. And, if any proof were needed, the hiding on Saturday shows what a truly awful state Hearts are in just now where it matters.

It all started promisingly enough. Hearts are battling for third place with Aberdeen and news must have filtered through from Ibrox that Aberdeen were quickly three goals down. A win against United would have reduced the gap to three points. As it turned out, they would end the day a goal worse off than their Pittodrie European rivals. Then, Ibraham Tall and David Robertson were both sent off for an off-the-ball altercation. That changed everything.

Hearts went for the extraordinary decision to play three at the back, and with no right back. The result was that United, a team with absolutely nothing to play for, destroyed them.

In an unbelievable second-half onslaught, Barry Robson netted a hat-trick and Noel Hunt added another. If they had scored six or more, there could have been no complaints. Hearts simply gave up. Their abysmal defence couldn’t cope with United’s speed on the counter-attack and the suicidal decision of playing with no right back meant every time United went up the park, you thought they would score. So those in maroon, simply threw in the white towel.

If the Hearts players packed it in — and they did — then so did the fans. They started emptying when it went to 2-0 and the few who stuck it out to the bitter end did so only to yell abuse at the pathetic efforts of the players and the board.

Mind you, if you take Steven Pressley, Andy Webster and Paul Hartley out of your team and replace them with a ragtag assortment of Lithuanian amateurs, what do you expect? If United needed any kind of boost, the sight of the stands emptying provided them with just that, as goal-scorer Hunt pointed out.

“We could see that their fans were turning,” he admitted. “And we knew we were the better team when they all got up and started to leave. We went in at half-time and believed we were the better side. We kept the ball well and played well. But no one has really heard of a side coming here and winning 4-0.”

Inevitably, the spotlight was on Hearts, but that would be unfair on a superb second-half display by the Tannadice men, who were in relegation trouble until Craig Levein, the former Hearts manager, arrived.

Robson won the plaudits for his hat-trick, but Lee Wilkie, the defender, is close to being back to the kind of form that won him international recognition under Berti Vogts before a series of horrendous knee injuries almost ended his career. When Hearts did show interest in attacking in the first half, Wilkie was brilliant. Strong and commanding in the air. the former Dundee defender is a real asset for United, as Hunt admitted. “You can see with Lee that since he’s got into the side he’s getting fitter and fitter every week,” he said. “You can see why he was picked for Scotland. He’s winning lots of balls in the air and has been superb for us.”

Levein looked as shellshocked as the Hearts fans after the game, but he insisted the plight of his former club gave him no pleasure. “I don’t get any joy in the Hearts fans being disappointed,” he stressed. “If you had asked me before the game if we could score four goals here, I would have said 100 per cent no. Tynecastle is a very, very difficult place to come at the best of times, but we deserved to score four and I must congratulate my players. We ran out worthy winners.”

Steve Frail, the Hearts assistant coach, at least showed some honesty in his condemnation of his shambolic players. “They [United] showed more hunger and more desire and that’s sad,” he said. “We have come off and lost 4-0 against a team with nothing to play for. I’m hurting, the coaching staff are hurting and the fans are hurting. I hope the players are too. We can sit and talk about tactics all we like, but if you don’t go out and roll your sleeves up, you will die.

“I can’t blame the fans for leaving — I’d have done the same. It was nothing short of abysmal and we need to put it right.”

Romanov’s Hearts. Reaching new lows every week. Now both on and off the pitch.

Heart of Midlothian (4-4-2):C Gordon 7 — M Zaliukas 5 (sub: C Karipidis, 68min 4), C Berra 4, I Tall 4, J Goncalves 5 — A Driver 7, L Pilibaitis 5, B Aguiar 6, S Mikoliunas 4 — A Velicka 5 (sub: E Jankauskas, 46 3),M Pospisil 5 (sub: G Glen, 62 2). Substitutes not used: S Banks, J Armstrong, E Jonsson, K Ivaskevicius. Booked: Mikoliunas. Sent off: Tall.

Dundee United (4-5-1):D Stillie 7 - C Kalvenes 7, S Dillon 7, L Wilkie 8, D McCracken 7 — N Hunt 7 (sub: K Watson, 90), M Kerr 6, D Robertson 5, B Robson 8, S Robb 7 (sub: C Samuel, 72 2) — J Daly 7. Substitutes not used: E McLean, L Mair, S Duff, D Goodwillie, M Gomis. Booked: Robb. Sent off: Robertson.

Taken from

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