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<-Srce <-Type Sunday Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Frank Gilfeather auth-> Mike Tumilty
9 of 020 Bruno Aguiar 22 L SPL A

Aguiar finesse makes all the difference

By Frank Gilfeather

A FLICKER of genius from Bruno Aguiar midway through the first half proved enough to bring Hearts another narrow victory and the three points which hauled them into third place in the SPL on the back of Dundee United's defeat at Rugby Park.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle's diligence and determination, particularly in a second half in which they bombarded the Tynecastle defence, brought no reward and leaves them with just one win from eight home starts this season.

For the visitors, the significance of the win - their third by an identical scoreline in a week - was not lost on Aguiar.

"I have been here for three years," he said, "and I don't remember a series of three wins. Maybe we don't play fantastic football but I prefer winning than beautiful football.

"If you play good football and win, that's good. But the most important thing is getting the three points.

"Now that I am back after being out injured for such a long time I am enjoying every game. We must now try hard to stay third because every game is like a cup final."

For Craig Brewster, the Caley Thistle manager, there was disappointment and bewilderment in equal measure as he wondered when his side would secure a second home win of the season.

"I thought my players put a lot into the game," he said, "but we could have gone to midnight and not scored."

Despite what, in Highland terms, might be described as a "stiff breeze" from the North, Caley Thistle were keen to use the conditions to their advantage early on.

That certainly seemed to be in the mind of Barry Wilson as he twisted and turned his way into the penalty area in the third minute, only to see Andy Barrowman fail to connect with a header from four yards with what looked the most perfect of crosses from his veteran team-mate.

However, had Andy Driver not made a mess of his shot on the six-yard line a minute later, it would have been the visitors who would have gone in front but at least such moves were indicative of some attacking play. There was, though, a clear physical side to the game from the outset and a dazed Ian Black, the Inverness midfielder, was forced to retire after just 16 minutes following a head knock. Roy McBain was called from the wings as his replacement.

Nevertheless, it was a moment to savour when the only goal of the game arrived six minutes later. The home defence froze just long enough to allow Aguiar to accept Driver's low ball before watching him drill his 20-yard shot into the corner of the net.

The goal did nothing to diminish the attempts by Inverness to make an impact, however, and their passing play and running off the ball presented Hearts with problems. Robbie Neilson in particular was kept fully occupied as he tried to cope with the powerful play of Doug Imrie on Caley's left flank.

Neilson's presence on the goal-line seconds before the interval was certainly welcomed by his colleagues as he cleared Adam Rooney's stabbing effort following a goalmouth skirmish.

Within a minute of the second half, Hearts could have added a second but Ryan Esson, the Inverness goalkeeper, tipped Christian Nade's thumping 25-yard shot over the bar before repeating his action from the corner kick after Driver's clever lob came off the bar.

That sparked another period of intense activity from the home side, who did their utmost to stretch the visiting defence with a series of raids.

Brewster emphasised his intentions by bringing on the fresh legs of Ian Vigurs and Garry Wood before Imrie's turn and shot from the edge of the area in the 73rd minute underlined the home side's desire not to allow Hearts their third successive league win.

It was not to be, however, and Hearts held on for the points and brought to an end a highly profitable week.

Taken from the Sunday Herald

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