London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 09 Aug 2008 Hearts 3 Motherwell 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type News of the World ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth None auth-> Iain Brines
[D Clarkson 33] ;[D Clarkson 80]
28 of 029 Michael Stewart 25 ;Audrius Ksanavicius 40 ;Saulius Mikoliunas 81 L SPL H


Graeme Bryce
Scorers: HEARTS:
Stewart, Ksanavicius, Mikoliunas
Clarkson (2)

HEARTS fans turned up at Tynecastle wondering if they were about to witness the dawn of a new era or the dawn of a new error.

But on this evidence Vladimir Romanov might just, for once, be having an inspired summer.

Cocky Motherwell fans taunted their hosts before kick-off by unfurling a banner proclaiming: They tried to make McGhee a Jambo, he said no, no, no!

But it was Vlad’s fourth-choice summer target, Csaba Laszlo, who took the honours at the end of this five-goal thriller to get his new regime off to a truly spectacular winning start.

All of which left Hearts fans signing yes, yes, yes.

If this is a sign of football Laszlo-style, there are going to be long queues snaking down Gorgie Road whenever tickets are put on sale for games this season.

Twice free-flowing Hearts took the lead, through Michael Stewart and then Audrius Ksanavicius.

Twice counter-attacking Motherwell picked them off through in-form hitman David Clarkson.

When the Scotland striker capitalised on a Juho Makela howler to smack a deflected shot past Steven Banks nine minutes from time, there must have been plenty of Jambos fearing the worst.

Instead, last season’s eigth-placed rabble, roused themselves for one last push for their new gaffer.

Just 60 seconds later Saulius Mikoliunas, long regarded as one of the biggest chancers under previous regimes, finished off a great week for Lithuania by grabbing the winner.

Bursting a gut to gain possession, Miko ran straight at the Well defence and smacked an unstoppable angled drive high into the roof of the net.

It was a stunning finale to a sensational afternoon yet for once there was someone there to give delirious Jambos fans a reality check.

There was no talk of Champions League success or even Europe from Hearts’ Romanian gaffer.

Instead Laszlo urged his supporters to take a reality check as he set his own targets — a top six finish and an improvement on last year.

That may not be as sexy as the Champions League but on this showing it is definitely achievable for Hearts.

Laszlo insisted: “We must be realistic and not dream about the UEFA Cup or Champions League. We must keep our feet on the ground.

“After 38 games this season I want us to be in the top six and better than last year. Today I saw that we are heading in the right direction. But if one of my players strays the wrong way, I’ll show them the door!

“The most important thing for me today wasn’t the three points, it was that my team was competitive and stood up in adversity.

“We lost the lead twice to a good team but my players showed a great team spirit and togetherness to show that they understand what I want from them.

“I don’t think it was just our fans who enjoyed that game, or Motherwell’s, every neutral will have enjoyed it too. It was a great advert for Scottish football.

“Compliments to Motherwell. That was better than a six or seven goal win against a poor team.

“I can’t believe we did the hard thing by creating so many chances then missed them. But if we win every game 3-2 playing like that I’ll be happy and our stadium won’t be big enough to fit all the fans in.”

Laszlo was still at Hearts’ Academy at 9pm on Friday night studying DVDs of Motherwell and his work ethic has clearly rubbed off on his Hearts players.

After a typically upbeat start at Tynecastle they took the lead after 25 minutes with a sweeping move.

Audrius Ksanavicius threaded the ball through to Andy Driver, who neatly flicked it into the path of Michael Stewart who had burst into space.

The midfielder’s touch was sublime as he took the ball in his path and slammed it beyond Graeme Smith.

The Motherwell goalie then kept his team in the game with an acrobatic save to push a deflected Driver shot on to the bar. Motherwell made the most of their reprieve when Stephen Hughes skipped round the back of the Hearts defence to set up David Clarkson for a simple tap-in after 32 minutes.

Hearts hit back to take the lead after 39 minutes when Mark Reynolds’ suicidal back-header was pounced on by Ksanavicius who bravely slid in to beat Smith to the loose ball.

He took a painful whack for his trouble which is exactly the commitment Laszlo seems to inspire in his players.

The second half was just as tight and Motherwell looked to have snatched a point after 81 minutes as sub Juho Makela almost blew all Hearts’ good work apart.

The big Finn showed the touch of an elephant as he failed to control a perfectly good Stewart pass midway inside the Hearts half, then the pace of an elephant as he ambled after it.

Clarkson punished him as he pounced to win the ball, then sent his shot from the edge of the box past Banks with a helpful deflection.

We all wondered if Hearts would crumble but instead Mikoliunas summed up the new outlook when he took another Stewart pass in his stride and broke forward purposefully to slam a sensational winner past Smith.

At full-time Laszlo punched the air in delight then made his way straight to Makela and gave him a clip round the ear for his sloppiness!

It was tough for Mark McGhee to take and he admitted he couldn’t make a case for his dithering defence.

He admitted: “Apart from the poor defending we showed at their first two goals I was totally satisfied with our performance. It was the same Motherwell you saw last year, we made chances and scored two goals away from home but we have to defend better.

“We lost the game because of the first two goals, they really cost us and that’s a worry.

“I know the four lads we had out there today can defend better than that.”

HEARTS: Banks, Thomson, Zaliukas, Berra, Wallace, Kingston (Mikoliunas 76), Karipidis, Stewart, Driver (Cesnauskis 69), Ksanavicius (Makela 71), Mole. Subs not used: MacDonald, Nade, Jonsson, Rapnik.

MOTHERWELL: Smith, Quinn, Craigan, Reynolds, Hammell, Lasley (O’Brien 78), Malcolm (Fitzpatrick 53), Hughes, McGarry (Smith 74), Clarkson, Porter. Subs not used: Neilson, Murphy, Connolly, Slane.

News Of The World

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