London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20081102
<-Page <-Team Sun 02 Nov 2008 Hearts 0 Celtic 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Stuart Lovell auth-> Craig Thomson
Zaliukas Marius [S Maloney 6] ;[G Caldwell 19]
5 of 016 ----- L SPL H

Hearts outfought and out-thought by Bhoys

THE game of the weekend in the SPL was undoubtedly Hearts against Celtic or at least, it should've been.
This fixture is normally a real cracker, but yesterday's match was something of a damp squib for the viewing public, with the exception of Celtic fans, of course.

Even though Hearts went into it with just one win in six, I felt sure they would com e flying out of the traps and take the game to the visitors, as is so often the case at Tynecastle.

Nothing could have been further from the truth, however, with Gordon Strachan's men dominating from start to finish.

If anything, I'd say 2-0 flattered the home side. Hearts only managed to muster two efforts on target in the whole match, the first one after 84 minutes – a statistic that won't please Csaba Laszlo one bit.

The Hearts boss was happy to persevere with his tried-and- tested formation, flooding the midfield and leaving Christian Nade as the lone striker.

This should have given the home side a numerical advantage across the centre of the pitch, but for one reason or another it was Celtic who seemed to have time and space to pass the ball around as they liked.

It soon became apparent the SPL champions weren't going to take any prisoners in this match as they flew into tackles from the very first minute. Barry Robson set the tone, ably backed up by Scott Brown and Paul Hartley.

I would have to question whether Hearts were up for the challenge, certainly the opening exchanges suggested otherwise.

Nothing upsets supporters more than watching their team being outfought, but that was exactly how the game unfolded and there was never a stage in the match when Hearts looked as if they could turn things around.

Celtic took a stranglehold early on, Shaun Maloney putting them ahead with a sublime half-volley 25 yards from goal after an unconvincing clearance from Janos Balogh.

I find it hard to understand why goalkeepers come off their line and punch the ball when they could just as easily catch it instead and, if you have two centre-backs the size of Berra and Zaliukas, why not let them deal with the problem in the first place?

The second goal was a hammer blow for the home side and they never looked like recovering from it thereafter.

Television replays showed a handball by Gary Caldwell, albeit an accidental one, in the goalmouth scramble that led to him prodding the ball over the line from close range.

Bruno Aguiar immediately appealed to the officials for a free-kick but, in fairness to both the referee and the linesman, it was almost impossible to spot from the positions they were in. When half-time arrived, I felt sure Laszlo would make a change – a striker in place of a midfielder being the obvious choice – but surprisingly he opted to stick with his original formation.

Five minutes after the restart, the match was effectively over as a contest when Hearts' centre-back Marius Zaliukas was sent off for a professional foul on Scott McDonald as he raced through on goal.

First things first, the decision should never have stood because McDonald was half a yard offside as he latched on to Cillian Sheridan's flick-on.

Secondly, it wasn't a penalty as the infringement took place outside the box.

Paul Hartley missed the resulting spot-kick, but that was of little consolation to the Hearts players who had every reason to feel aggrieved.

Overall, though, this was an extremely disappointing display by the home side who, let's not forget, would have moved up to third in the table if they'd won the game.

It was a missed opportunity for sure and once again it's back to the drawing board for Hearts.

IN my role with Setanta, I travel the length and breadth of the country interviewing players and managers from each and every club in the SPL.

The most enjoyable part of the job is when I get the chance to meet different personalities in the game on a one-to-one basis.

week, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk football with Hearts boss, Csaba Laszlo. We spoke, or perhaps I should say, he spoke about how he has settled into life in the Capital and also on his working relationship with Vladimir Romanov.

My first impression was that it's easy to see why the players have warmed to their new boss so much since his arrival back in July – he is a very engaging character and his passion for the game is infectious. Clearly, this is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, but he shouldn't be mistaken for being a nut-job just because he happens to be so animated on the touchline. He may be Romanian by birth, but you can see that he's been heavily influenced by living and working in Germany.

He is methodical in his approach and everything he does has a purpose behind it. Listening to him talking about his plans for the club, it became obvious to me that Laszlo is here for the long haul, providing of course that Mr Romanov allows him to get on with the job in hand.

It appears the manager and the owner have a healthy respect for one another, a dynamic which has certainly been lacking in the past and as long as that remains, Hearts can perhaps begin to fulfil the expectations of their supporters.

Taken from the Scotsman

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