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Csaba Laszlo <-auth James Morgan auth-> Steve Conroy
[D Mackie 13]
1 of 015 Lee Wallace 21 L SPL H

Hearts 1 - 1 Aberdeen

JAMES MORGAN sport October 27 2008

The fashion accessory of choice at Tynecastle this weekend? Handbags, of course. The one surprise, though, was that Hearts v Aberdeen on Saturday rather than the women's international 24 hours later, provided the big girl's blouse.

The main offender was Csaba Laszlo, the Hearts head coach, who found himself in a frankly hilarious altercation involving John McKendrick, the fourth official, after the Hungarian appeared to make a beeline for Steve Conroy, who had minutes earlier awarded a penalty to Hearts before reversing his decision following a lengthy consultation with Chris Young, his assistant.

McKendrick fended Laszlo away with his electronic board as the Hearts manager made his way towards Conroy.

Christian Karipidis and Jamie Langfield had to be separated by Christian Nade as the pantomime season started six weeks early, while Werner Burger, the Hearts assistant, attempted to keep the peace by shaking hands with just about anyone wearing an Aberdeen training coat.

Laszlo is likely to be censured by the SFA disciplinary committee as it is thought the incident has been included in Conroy's match report, although Laszlo clearly thought he had staved this off after insisting he had shaken hands with the officials in the dressing room after the game.

Listening to Laszlo's toe-curling plea for mitigation on Saturday night was as embarrassing as post-match press conferences get. "I have done nothing wrong," he repeated incessantly. "I was angry, angry at my players missing so many chances," before claiming he had entered the field "to shake hands with the Aberdeen players".

The manager's ire was shared by Lee Wallace, the Hearts left-back, whose 21st-minute goal cancelled out Darren Mackie's early opener.

"A lot of the foreign lads have mentioned that they have never seen anything like that before Conroy's u-turn. We were fully confident Mikey would have stepped up and scored. Everyone is disappointed. We probably deserved to win the game but we didn't take our chances. "

Few present would disagree that Laszlo's aggressive reaction was a direct consequence of Conroy's decision to award the penalty - after Michael Stewart went down under Langfield's challenge in the 84th minute - before performing his volte-face.

Television replays later confirmed it was the correct decision and, given the level of abuse directed towards officials these days for getting things wrong, a brave one. Though why Stewart was not then booked for diving, raised eyebrows.

"The linesman said it was up to the referee to book Stewart," revealed Zander Diamond, the Aberdeen defender, adding: "It was a great spot from the linesman. Referees and linesmen are under pressure week in, week out and they got that one right, albeit I think if someone dives they have to get a yellow card."

Aberdeen enjoyed the best of a sprightly opening and, when Mackie outpaced the Hearts rearguard following an error of judgment by Marius Zaliukas, they looked on their way to their second away win in a week. That they didn't get it was due to Hearts' determination despite falling behind first for the sixth time in 10 league games.

The foul weather threatened to end all hopes of a comeback, though. A number of attempts to construct an equaliser foundered on the sodden pitch but, ironically, the conditions played a vital role in the build-up to Wallace's goal. After trading passes with Ruben Palazuelos, the defender set off on a languid run before slipping the ball to Christian Nade. The French striker's return was applied with a heavy touch but, fortunately for Wallace, the surface water supplied just enough lag for him to stretch his left leg to make contact with the ball. The end result was a lashed finish into the roof of the net.

From there on, a familiar pattern emerged. Aberdeen conceded countless free-kicks and corners but on each occasion Bruno Aguiar's flawless set-piece deliveries were squandered by a host of felons. The most notable offender was Nade, who headed over from a position just underneath the crossbar while Aberdeen's best chance of a winner fell to Jamie Hodgkiss, who clipped the underside of the bar with a driven shot.

Stung by that perceived injustice, it was Hearts who almost snatched victory. Deividas Cesnauskis embarked on a mazy run which ended when he hit the inside of a post before Jamie Mole blasted the rebound high and wide.

Prior to kick-off, rumours had swept around Tynecastle that Jimmy Calderwood, the Aberdeen manager, was set to be replaced irrespective of Saturday's scoreline. However, Calderwood dismissed those suggestions by claiming that he knew the character of certain people at the club well enough to know that he would learn his fate "long before any idiot phoned up a television station or any of you guys".

The theme was picked up by Diamond. "It's ludicrous. It's not us that's talking about his future it's the media," he said.

Taken from the Herald

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