London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20080830
<-Page <-Team Sat 30 Aug 2008 Hamilton Academical 1 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Barry Anderson auth-> Craig Thomson
[D Lyle 80]
22 of 027 Marius Zaliukas 18 ;Andrew Driver 58 L SPL A

Hearts back in control after glitch

THE challenge facing Hearts was to prove last week's Co-operative Insurance Cup defeat by Airdrie United was a momentary glitch. The motivation was an opportunity to top the SPL come tea-time on Saturday. That they were denied the second achievement by Kilmarnock's victory at Tannadice matters little at present, for they managed the first quite convincingly to record a third league win from the opening four games.
Excepting defeat at Ibrox, Hearts' SPL campaign has opened concordantly. Hamilton Academicals suffered only their second home defeat in 36 matches at the weekend as the Edinburgh club took a deserved win from their trip to Lanarkshire. Whatever they may lack in attacking nous is becoming secondary due to what looks like a useful winning habit.

Hamilton's strength lies in the flair of the two Jameses, McCarthy and McArthur. The former emerged from the substitutes' bench after 18 minutes and replaced the injured veteran Chris Swailes. By then his side were already a goal behind and chasing the game after Marius Zaliukas' towering header from a corner.

When Andy Driver capitalised on Simon Mensing's poor ball control to double the advantage, there was little doubt over the destination of the points.

Hearts' tidy defending, crisp passing and inventive movement up front allowed them to dominate for long periods, compromised only by a genuine goal presence in the final third. That has been a recurring theme this season with Mike Tullberg and Christian Nade not yet fully fit.

Derek Lyle's header initiated a late rally from Hamilton but one which the visitors successfully combatted, and manager Csaba Laszlo had every right to be satisfied at full-time.

"At the moment we must collect points, this is most important," he said. "I can't forget last Wednesday's game and this was a little bit similar; a team which came from the First Division full of enthusiasm and spirit to win against a team which is always in the SPL. I spoke with the players and somebody asked me before the game about the spirit. I think the answer is there.

"We played good football. We can't say this was a lucky game because we always had it in our hands. We had luck and made the goals. I'm a little sad about the last ten minutes because we had the game in hand and gave our opponents the chance to score. We had other chances before then, but this is the problem with a young team. Some players think the game is finished and they can relax, and this is what they must learn."

Overall, getting up to speed doesn't appear a huge problem. One of the features of this game – aside from substitute Saulius Mikoliunas ridiculously incurring the wrath of the local constabulary in the second half by making a "2-0" gesture to home supporters – was the regular interchanging of positions between Hearts' attacking midfielders, David Obua, Larry Kingston and Driver. One occupied the "hole" behind lone striker Jamie Mole and was flanked by the other two, but their continual crossing over made them awkward, if not impossible, to mark.

"We had a good goalkeeper in Marian Kello. Zaliukas and Berra have the harmony, and Michael Stewart and Karipidis had good games," continued Laszlo. "We had more tactical variation ahead with David Obua, Andy Driver and Larry Kingston. They changed their positions all the time and that's what I wanted. We worked on it all week. At the moment, the team is there and they feel 'we cannot kick and run, we must play football'."

Hamilton manager Billy Reid set out his team in a bold 4-3-3 formation, with Joel Thomas, Richard Offiong and Lucas Akins in attack. He felt his side suffered for a lacklustre beginning and may now regret the decision to rest McCarthy by starting him on the bench.

"We didn't come out of the traps at all and that made it hard early doors," he said. "The first goal was a soft goal, you can't defend like that in the SPL and we spoke about that.

"After that, I thought we looked bright, although in the final third we didn't do enough. Our three front men are big, strong and powerful with good pace but they just didn't do enough and they were told that. I put Derek Lyle on with 15 minutes to go and he did more in 15 minutes than the other three did during the whole game.

"I've no complaints. The players gave me everything and I think we passed the ball well, every bit as good as Hearts. There was just no cutting edge."

The visitors have a similar if slightly less obvious problem which may be offset should anything come of their interest in Derek Riordan. "At the moment I have more interest in Mike Tullberg," said Laszlo when questioned on the likelihood of the former Hibs striker arriving at Tynecastle before midnight tonight.

He continued: "It's important for me that Eggert Jonsson makes competition for Jason Thomson, that David Obua is slowly doing what I want. Larry Kingston can be a personality. Lee Wallace has to learn to play a little closer to the defence and don't open a gap. This is my job and this is what I do."

So far, Laszlo is doing his job rather well. The nine points from 12 statistic will go down extremely well over in Kaunas when majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov evaluates the early weeks of his manager's tenure.

"He's got us organised and everybody comes into training wanting to train, which wasn't always the case last season," said Driver. "Arguments between players is a healthy thing (Audrius Ksanavicius and Stewart were seen in heated debate at full-time], it shows everyone gives a damn. Little things like that drive you on to get results."

It's results which have taken Hearts to the upper echelons of the SPL after just four matches. No-one at Tynecastle would wish to get overly excited, but it would be unjust to view the improvement from last season as merely gradual.

Taken from the Scotsman

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