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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Mark Walker auth-> Steve Conroy
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7 of 015 Lee Wallace 21 L SPL H

Antics of Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo round off strange day

Hearts 1 Aberdeen 1
Mark Walker at Tynecastle

Perhaps all SPL games should be played in horrific conditions if Saturday’s super spectacle is what you get. Two sets of players bent on winning, a cracking atmosphere, a penalty awarded, then not given, two goals, three woodworks rattled and a sensational end with a wired-to-the-moon manager involving police on the pitch and battling coaches. Magic!

Clashes between Heart of Midlothian and Aberdeen always have that extra dig with the long-running argument over who are Scotland’s third-biggest club always guaranteed to provoke a reaction. And Saturday’s encounter did not let anyone down in that respect. Blood and thunder from the off and all kinds of mayhem.

After Lee Wallace had quickly cancelled out Darren Mackie’s goal inside 21 minutes, both sides could have won. Aberdeen hit the bar and post through Jared Hodgkiss and Lee Miller and Hearts struck a post late on when Deividas Cesnauskis, a substitute, ran through, but the real controversy centred around the decision by Steve Conroy, the referee, to award a penalty after Michael Stewart had flung himself to the ground with Jamie Langfield, the Aberdeen goalkeeper, hurtling towards him.

Conroy changed his mind after furious protests persuaded him to consult an assistant, Chris Young, and a goal-kick was given to the visiting side. Fair play to the linesman for having the guts to change such a significant call and the referee for admitting that he was wrong.
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Enter Csaba Laszlo, the Hearts manager, who tried to race on to the field at the end to confront the official, although he insisted, bizarrely, that it was actually to shake the hands of his players. The fourth official wrestled with him, Sandy Clark, the Aberdeen coach, became involved and even Edinburgh’s finest entered the sodden pitch.

“I go on to the park after every game,” Laszlo said. “And you must ask why they stopped me. I told them I wanted to shake my players’ hands. I don’t have a problem with anyone.”

It showed that he cared, as Wallace pointed out. “For the manager to react like that shows the passion and desire he has,” he said.

Jimmy Calderwood, the Aberdeen manager, had his own problems to worry about after a radio station ran a story before the game claiming that he was about to be sacked and replaced by Mark McGhee, the incumbent at Motherwell.

Zander Diamond, the Aberdeen defender, would, for one, be shocked if the story had any truth in it. “Any talk of the gaffer being under pressure is nonsense,” he said. “We maybe haven’t started too well, but we won’t be far off third or fourth at the end.”

Heart of Midlothian (4-5-1): J Balogh 5 – E Jonsson 6, C Berra 7, C Karipidis 6, L Wallace 7 – S Mikoliunas 6 (sub: D Cesnauskis, 73 3), B Aguiar 8 (sub: A Ksanavicius, 85), M Stewart 5, M Zaliukas 6, R Palazuelos 6 – C Nade 6 (sub: J Mole, 75). Substitutes not used: J MacDonald, J Makela, J Thomson, M Rapnik. Booked: Mikoliunas.

Aberdeen (4-4-2): J Langfield 7 – J Hodgkiss 7, Z Diamond 7, L Mair 6, A Considine 8 – D Young 5, R Foster 6, S Severin 7, S Aluko 7 – D Mackie 6, L Miller 6 (sub: C Mulgrew, 88). Substitutes not used: J Bateman, T Wright, M Kerr, S Duff, J de Visscher, C Maguire. Booked: Considine.

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