London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sun 11 Nov 2007 Hearts 4 Aberdeen 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Times ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Anatoly Korobochka <-auth Phil Gordon auth-> Iain Brines
[J De Visscher 38]
7 of 007 Andrew Driver 3 ;Andrius Velicka 13 ;Ibrahim Tall 53 ;Christian Nade 61 L SPL H

Hearts respond to Vladimir Romanov presence

Phil Gordon

Heart of Midlothian embrace Remembrance Sunday like no other football club in Britain and this occasion will be recalled with clarity and fondness by the Tynecastle support as Aberdeen were swept aside with a vigorous display that allowed Stephen Frail’s team to reclaim a place in the top half.

The presence of Vladimir Romanov, the Edinburgh club’s owner, who abandoned a self-imposed exile in his native Lithuania to see his team for the first time since February, clearly had an effect. Andrew Driver, Andrius Velicka, Ibrahim Tall and Christian Nade all scored in a rout of an Aberdeen side who paid the price for their efforts in the Uefa Cup on Thursday against Lokomotiv Moscow.

The game was preceded by a minute’s silence for the seven Hearts players who died in action in the First World War and the present side wore a special commemorative strip that had the name of each of the 1914 side who perished in the Somme. Earlier, at 11 o’clock, the club had held its annual remembrance service at the monument erected 85 years ago at Haymarket to honour the club’s war dead, with Frail laying a wreath.

“It was a special day for the club,” the assistant head coach said. “All the players attended the service this morning and it was nice to see them wear the shirts commemorating those Hearts men who died in the war. It was also good to have Mr Romanov here. We wanted him to see that everyone is pulling in the same direction.”

Tall revealed later that Romanov met his players in their hotel yesterday lunchtime — possibly to familiarise himself with employees he has not seen for nine months? — and congratulated them in the dressing-room. “He said he was happy with the performance,” the Senegal defender said. “The team had our own talk two weeks ago after we lost at Kilmarnock. We had some hard words between us. Since then, we have won at Celtic in the CIS Cup and drawn at Hibernian last week. Now we want to keep moving up the table.”

If the Great War now seems too distant for the modern generation of supporters to identify with, their sacrifice visibly touched a chord among the packed Tynecastle audience. Just three minutes later, the contrast was vivid. A deafening roar punctured the Edinburgh sky as Driver put them in front. Aberdeen were the architects of their own misfortune, with three defensive errors handing the ball to Hearts. Ricky Foster tried to be too deft as he backtracked, and ought to have opted for an agricultural clearance. Instead, he tried to cushion a pass for Zander Diamond, who was under pressure and tried to return the pass to Foster, who was now inside the box. Foster slipped and passed the buck to Michael Hart across the box. Hart, facing his own goal and under pressure from Nade, could only divert it back towards his own goalkeeper, where Driver lunged in to stab his shot in off a post with his right boot.

Tynecastle was in a ferment and ten minutes later Hearts had doubled their lead. Again, Aberdeen’s wounds were self-inflicted, as Chris Maguire conceded possession and forced Foster to give away a corner. Driver took a short one with Audrius Ksanavicius and sent in a delivery that drew Jamie Langfield from his line. The goalkeeper spilled the ball under pressure from Nade and Velicka pounced to steer home the rebound.

Hearts had been rewarded for their high-tempo start and with Michael Stewart at the core of the creativity, they had their visiting team by the jugular. However. Aberdeen found a way back into the contest. Chris Clark, who had replaced the injured Barry Nicholson in the 24th minute, grazed the crossbar with dipping shot from the edge of the box moments after coming on.

Seven minutes before the interval, Jeffrey De Visscher halved the deficit in the with a goal of true quality. Scott Severin, back at the club where he made his name, showed vision and craft to find De Visscher out on he right flank and the Dutchman cut inside, eluding Jos� Goncalves and placing a composed raking finish beyond Steve Banks, the goalkeeper.

That was the signal for Aberdeen to launch a furious assault in pursuit of the equaliser.

Severin met De Visscher’s corner with a diving header that was kept out by Banks, while Velicka shot narrowly wide at the other end to conclude an entertaining first-half.

Any hopes Aberdeen had of making a comeback evaporated just 12 minutes into the second half when De Visscher foolishly conceded a foul on the left touchline on Nade, which allowed Stewart to deliver another free kick into the run of Tall, whose glancing header looped beyond Langfield.

Things got worse for Jimmy Calderwood’s side when Nade made it 4-1 five minutes later. The striker was played onside and darted into the box. Diamond blocked the Frenchman’s first shot but Nade regained composure and guided the loose ball past Langfield. Had it not been for the goalkeeper, Hearts could have scored a fifth. Ricardas Beniusus was poised to score his first goal for the club after coming off the bench but Langfield repelled his 85th-minute shot.

“You cannot defend like that against any team,” Calderwood said. “The Uefa Cup game last Thursday is not a valid excuse. We played poorly at the back and Hearts did not have to work too hard for their goals.”

Frail was overjoyed but when asked about reports that Derek Riordan, the former Hibernian striker, could be on his way to Tynecastle from Celtic in the January transfer window, he said: “He would have to be some player to get in just now. When we play at that tempo, we are a match for anyone.”

How they rated


S Banks 7 R Neilson 7 I Tall 7 C Berra 7 J Goncalves Y 7 A Driver 7 M Stewart 8 E Jonsson 9 A Ksanavicius 7 A Velicka 7 C Nade 8

Substitutes M Zaliukas 6 (for Neilson, 40min), L Kingston 6 (for Velicka, 57), R Beniusus (for Nade, 80)
Not used A Basso, L Wallace, R Palazeulos, C Elliot


J Langfield 7 M Hart 6 Z Diamond 7 L Mair 5 R Foster 6 B Nicjolson 5 S Severin Y 6 D Young Y 5 J De Visscher Y 5 C Maguire 5 L Miller 5

Substitutes C Clark 5 (for Nicjolson, 24min), S Lovell (for De Visscher, 70), S Aluko 5 (for Maguire, 57)
Not used D Soutar, J McNamara, K Touzani, A Considine

Referee: R Brines

Taken from

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