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<-Page <-Team Sat 30 Aug 2008 Hamilton Academical 1 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth None auth-> Craig Thomson
[D Lyle 80]
18 of 027 Marius Zaliukas 18 ;Andrew Driver 58 L SPL A

Match-winning winger hands full credit to Laszlo for solid league start

CSABA Laszlo is a hard man to please. Three days after watching his team crash out of a cup at home to mid-table First Division opponents, the Hearts manager got the sort of response he must have wanted from his players.
A better performance, two goals and three points away to a Hamilton team who had not lost a home game for 16 months should have been enough to erase from memory the humiliating defeat on penalties to Airdrie United. It left a wound, however, that will take some time to heal.

"I can't forget Wednesday's game," came the reply with a shake of his head when it was put to him that nine points out of a possible 12 is a good start.

Though encouraged by individual performances, collective spirit and the way his team kept possession, the emotive Hungarian coach knows there's plenty room for improvement. He wasn't satisfied with the last ten minutes or the positioning of his full-backs, but the priority is bolstering his attack.

Jamie Mole worked tirelessly as a lone striker, but lacks the experience, physique and goal-scoring instinct necessary for the role, while Christian Nade, who came on for the last 12 minutes, doesn't have the fitness or work ethic required. If the international break enables Mike Tullberg to prove his fitness before Hearts travel to Falkirk on Saturday week, much will be expected of the 6ft 2in Danish striker recently recruited on loan from Reggina.

"At the moment I have more interest for Mike Tullberg," was Laszlo's response to a question about Hearts' interest in Celtic striker Derek Riordan. The shrug that followed implied Riordan is an issue outwith his sphere of influence. "It's not important, believe me."

What is important is that he believes in himself, and the fortitude shown by the Hearts players confirmed they also believe in what he is trying to do. A recall for Andrew Driver was the only change to the team who were unable to break down Airdrie's defence, and the left-footed winger provided the cutting edge that was missing in midweek by setting up the first goal and scoring the second. The interchanging of positions between Driver, Laryea Kingston and David Obua was a new feature of Hearts' attack. Hamilton manager Billy Reid, who was perhaps consulting the same Ajax coaching manual, tried to deployed a similarly fluid front three, but Hearts were better at putting the theory into practice.

"We've got the organisation defensively which means going forward everyone is in position and knows where they're going to go," said Driver. "You can show your individual flair from there. It makes it a lot easier when the team is pulling together.

"There were points last year when it was horrendous going to training. But this year everyone wants to get in and everyone wants to train. Last season we were losing games that we should have been winning and at training everyone was down. We've got the manager. Even with the bad result on Wednesday, he had the players buzzing for the game. I think it showed. It's a big difference."

The visitors controlled most of the first half, taking the lead when Marius Zaliukas lost his marker, David Elebert, to head home Driver's floated corner from six yards. It was a bad goal to lose, and Hamilton's problems deepened a minute later when centre-back Chris Swailes limped off with an injury.

Simon Mensing was forced to drop from midfield into a less familiar position in central defence, and his error early in the second half allowed Driver to double Hearts' lead. Taking his eye off the ball for a split second as he tried to control Elebert's overcooked pass, Mensing was robbed by Driver and was then made to look like he was towing a caravan as the Hearts winger accelerated past into the box before drilling a low, left-foot shot into the far corner.

The goal was against the run of play, the home team having gained the upper hand early in the second half. Hamilton did pull one back through substitute Derek Lyle, who guided a superb long-range header from James McArthur's cross past the outstretched hands of the otherwise outstanding Hearts keeper Marian Kello. Had Richard Offiong not slipped in the act of shooting when through on goal in injury time, the home team may have even snatched an equaliser.

"We had them pinned back and I thought Hearts were hanging on at the end," said Reid, who was not impressed by the contributions of Offiong, Lucas Akins and Joel Thomas. "Our three front men are tall and powerful and have pace, but none of them did enough and they were told that. It took Derek Lyle to come on with 15 minutes to go. He did more in 15 minutes than the three of them did in the whole game."

Taken from the Scotsman

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