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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Ronnie Esplin auth-> William Collum
3 of 017 Saulius Mikoliunas 8 L SPL H

Hearts 1 Inverness 0

By Ronnie Esplin, PA Sport

A Saulius Mikoliunas strike after seven minutes was enough to give Hearts a 1-0 victory in their Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League clash with Inverness at Tynecastle.

The Gorgie side were rewarded for their early dominance when the Lithuania international latched on to a clever pass from Audrius Ksanavicius to slot past Caley goalkeeper Michael Fraser.

The visitors fought back and enjoyed their fair share of possession in an intriguing rather than exciting tussle, but could not find a way past a resolute Jambos' rearguard which had keeper Marian Kello in fine form when called upon.

Hours before kick-off, it had emerged the Jambos players had not been paid this week due to "technical reasons", with their money promised by next Tuesday.

But they looked as if they had no intention of short-changing their fans as they charged in an early lead.

Slack play in the Inverness defence allowed Ksanavicius to quickly put Mikoliunas through on goal and the Lithuania international squeezed his shot from inside the penalty area past Fraser at the near post.

The Gorgie side, full of enthusiasm and purpose, tightened their grip on the game and in the 18th minute a searching pass from left-back Lee Wallace found midfielder Michael Stewart 12 yards out but his lobbed volley was brilliantly tipped over by Fraser.

Moments later, wide-man Laryea Kingston finished a driving run by flashing a shot just over the bar.

The Highlanders, however, slowly worked their way back in to the game, mostly with sheer force, but could only penetrate as far as the Jambos' penalty area.

Their frustrations were summed up when defender Ross Tokely was booked for a wild and unnecessary swing at Mikoliunas.

As the half-hour mark passed, there was no sign the scoreline would be altered and the game became increasingly scrappy.

In the 33rd minute, keeper Marian Kello began a minute of panic in the Gorgie defence with a overly-strong throw-out which was picked up by Tokely but he made amends by parrying Dougie Imrie's drive from 14 yards.

While Caley kept pressing for the equaliser before the interval, Mikoliunas and Kingston both had efforts that went wide of the target.

Don Cowie's curling shot from 25 yards, which went wide of the far post four minutes after the break, signalled the visitors' intentions for the second half.

However, there remained a threat from the Tynecastle side and, seconds later, striker Jamie Mole just failed to take advantage of a Ksanavicius knockdown just inside the Caley box.

The game swung from end to end but the home fans became increasingly irritated buy Hearts' inability to regain control.

In the 57th minute, when Kello pulled off another fine save, this time from Roy McBain's angled volley from 12 yards, the Tynecastle faithful groaned some more.

Christian Nade replaced Ksanavicius on the hour mark as manager Csaba Laszlo tried to inject some impetus in to his flagging side, but Inverness pressed harder, aided by the substitution of Garry Wood for Adam Rooney.

Yet, as the minutes ticked away, Caley looked no closer to the goal their possession perhaps deserved.

Kingston made Fraser work down at his left-hand post in the 75th minute when he drove a left-footed shot in from the edge of the box.

But, despite all the hustle and bustle from both sides, and four minutes of added-time, there was no real penalty box drama until the final whistle.


Hearts Kello, Jonsson, Zaliukas, Berra, Lee Wallace,Mikoliunas (Palazuelos 77), Stewart (Mrowiec 86), Kingston,Karipidis, Ksanavicius (Nade 59), Mole.

Subs Not Used: MacDonald, Thomson, Rapnik, Glen.

Booked: Ksanavicius, Stewart, Zaliukas.

Goals: Mikoliunas 8.

Inverness CT Fraser, Tokely, McGuire, Munro, Hastings, Cowie,Black (Wilson 74), McBain (Vigurs 81), Imrie, Rooney (Wood 63),Barrowman.

Subs Not Used: Esson, Djebi-Zadi, McAllister, Duff.

Booked: Tokely, Wood.

Att: 12,890

Ref: W Collum (Scotland).

Taken from

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