London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 09 Aug 2008 Hearts 3 Motherwell 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Martin Hannan auth-> Iain Brines
[D Clarkson 33] ;[D Clarkson 80]
10 of 029 Michael Stewart 25 ;Audrius Ksanavicius 40 ;Saulius Mikoliunas 81 L SPL H

Hearts pile on the agony for McGhee

Martin Hannan
at Tynecastle
Hearts 3

Stewart 25, Ksanavicius 40, Mikoliunas 81

Motherwell 2

Clarkson 33, 80
A STUNNING late goal from substitute Saulius Mikoliunas gave Hearts victory in an excellent opening match at Tynecastle. In May, Motherwell manager Mark McGhee knocked back the head coach's job at Hearts, but that spurning added no edge to the occasion, there being plenty enough excitement in the play.

For once, the pre-season anticipation was not to end in disappointment. We saw a feast of attacking end-to-end play, not to mention five goals and plenty controversy. Hearts have clearly been re-passionised, if there's such a word, which made them deserved winners.

"We have spoken a lot about team spirit and being together," said Hearts manager Csaba Lazlo. His frenetic antics in the dugout showed his passion for the game, and man of the match Michael Stewart confirmed afterwards that "it rubs off on you," while he also praised Laszlo for his "German" attention to organisation.

Motherwell's fans will be pleased that McGhee's side remain committed to their attractive passing game which gave them a bright start. Hearts seemed a tad nervous at first and spent the opening quarter of the match in a cautious formation, relying on breakaways and with striker Jamie Mole often on his own in the Motherwell half.

Bob Malcolm has slimmed down, but will never be exactly svelte, and the former Rangers player's combative nature has in no way diminished. Inside six minutes his name was in referee Ian Brines's book for a despairing lunge at Andy Driver.

The first real chance fell to Audrius Ksanavicius after nine minutes, but referee Ian Brines blew his whistle for the striker's foul on Stephen Craigan just as Graeme Smith superbly saved the Hearts man's effort.

Brines's next intervention after 13 minutes was even more telling. He ruled that Ksanavicius had 'simulated' his fall after a Craigan half-tackle and instead of collecting a penalty, the Lithuanian got a yellow card. "I'll tell him to be careful in future," said Laszlo later. Perhaps to even things up, Brines also gave Steven Banks the benefit of the doubt when he appeared to handle the ball outside his area under pressure from Chris Porter.

Hearts began to get men forward, and after 25 minutes, a breathtaking move involving Mole, Driver, and Ksanavicius ended with Michael Stewart taking a perfect first touch and slamming the ball under Smith from 15 yards for a very good goal.

Shortly afterwards, Smith reacted brilliantly when a deflected shot from Driver curled over him, the keeper just managing to tip the ball onto the bar. Motherwell raced upfield and in 33 minutes, Stephen Hughes cut inside Jason Thomson and Marius Zaliukas to stroke the ball into the path of David Clarkson for a close-range equaliser.

Stewart and Keith Lasley were booked for a touch of handbag waving, before Hearts took the lead again. Craigan and Mark Reynolds seemed to have the ball covered, but Ksanavicius nipped between them and pressed home courageously as the boots flew, his shot slipping under Smith.

After a half of end-to-end excitement, the second half unsurprisingly went into a lull at times. Driver was causing Motherwell all sorts of problems on the left until he was injured and eventually replaced, while Stewart and Zaliukas both went close with snapshots. The visitors had plenty possession but precious few chances.

After a rash of substitutions, the game exploded back into life when Clarkson equalised with a low shot with 10 minutes remaining. The home fans in the 14,000 crowd were stunned, but a minute later were in raptures when, just five minutes after coming on, Mikoliunas burst down the right wing and sped in to the box, firing an unstoppable shot high past Smith for that crucial first win for Laszlo.

"I'll lose sleep over the mistakes we made," said the nevertheless delighted Romanian, but his club's fans might just think he is the man to lead them into dreamland.


For 90 minutes Michael Stewart powered the Hearts midfield, as well as scoring.


For all the millions spent on foreign players, four of yesterday's best performers – Berra, Driver, Thomson, and Wallace – were products of Hearts' academy.


The most controversial moment came after 13 minutes when Audrius Ksanavicius went down a touch theatrically in the Motherwell box, apparently felled by Stephen Craigan. As the home fans screamed for a penalty, referee Ian Brines decided that the Lithuanian had done a 'Miko' and dived.

Taken from the Scotsman

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