London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Alasdair Fraser auth-> Mike Tumilty
11 of 020 Bruno Aguiar 22 L SPL A

Aguiar lifts Hearts into Euro spot

Alasdair Fraser
at Caledonian Stadium
Inverness CT 0

Hearts 1

Aguiar 22
AS A CHILD in his native Hungary, Csaba Laszlo must have habitually won the annual "hold-your-breath-the-longest" contest down among the chess-playing regulars at his local swimming baths.

The likeable Hearts head coach, fresh from watching his side grasp hold of the third European spot at Dundee United's expense, barely drew breath as he delivered a near-unbroken, nine-minute post-match monologue. His English seems decent, if high-paced and impenetrable without a regular rewind of the tape recorder. Yet, whatever else Laszlo is communicating, there is no doubting the injection of spirit and resilience in a cosmopolitan group of Gorgie players.

Bruno Aguiar, scorer of yesterday's only goal – and a gem at that – struggled to recall his side stringing three wins together during his three years at the club. That they have done so within a week should partially silence those who echoed out a chorus of boos at Tynecastle after beating Hamilton a few days ago.

Perhaps for the first time since George Burley, there is purpose and genuine cohesion in the camp.

Aguiar, who struck from close to 30 yards to cap an impressive display of midfield mobility, said: "I've been at the club for three years now and can't remember a spell like this. We are a solid team now. Maybe we didn't play fantastic football, but I prefer wins to beautiful play. We played tremendously against Hibs yet only drew. We are in third position so we are happy now."

In a game that fizzed and flared throughout, Caley Thistle were left with just one win from eight at home after what has become a familiar sinking feeling before their own fans.

Caley Thistle were dealt a late blow with Don Cowie's knee injury paving the way for veteran Barry Wilson's first league start of the campaign. For Hearts, Robbie Neilson earned his first start since April after injury, while Michael Stewart made a fleeting return between suspensions.

There was a real verve to Caley Thistle's opening approach, with the hosts' hunger evident after just four minutes. Ian Black swept wide to Wilson on the right flank and the 36-year-old's cross flew only just too high for Barrowman, prowling at the far post. A minute later, Hearts threatened with Eggert Jonsson's ball into the box miscued on the volley by Aguiar, before it spun to nearby Andy Driver for a similarly meek swipe.

Black's lively start was curtailed soon after, with the midfielder complaining of impaired vision after taking the ball in the face.

Aguiar began to make his considerable presence felt with the Portuguese midfielder's mobility troubling the Highlanders ahead of a stunning opener after 22 minutes. Gliding on to a Driver pass and nipping inside Russell Duncan, the 27-year-old showed great technique as he dispatched a wonderfully-controlled 30-yard shot low into the corner of Ryan Esson's net.

Brewster had emphasised the importance of grabbing the first goal and it took his side some time to recover composure. A late flurry before half-time, though, saw two penalty appeals waved away, the first when Stewart seemed to catch home skipper Grant Munro in the box.

In first half injury-time, Neilson did well to scramble off Balogh's line, but both Barrowman and Rooney had a clear opportunity to score. Lee Wallace's challenge then floored Rooney in the area, with referee Mike Tumilty leaving the field to a chorus of boos for ignoring loud appeals. There was more drama, early after the re-start, with Nade's fierce strike from 25 yards out right tipped over the bar by Esson. The former Aberdeen keeper was energised again a minute later as he touched over a dropping Driver side-foot from outside the area. The second half became a tale of home possession and Hearts absorption without any serious flutters for keeper Balogh.

"Adam Rooney and the rest of the lads were adamant he should have had a penalty," Brewster bemoaned afterwards. "There was really nothing in the game."


Bruno Aguiar: His goal alone might have been worthy of the award, but general display was just as classy. Great movement, clever use of ball, married with strength. A real talent.


Home manager Craig Brewster scored the last competitive goal of his career against Hearts here last September – a glorious winning volley in stoppage time as Caley Thistle came from one goal down to win 2-1.


Adam Rooney was adamant he had a clear-cut penalty denied when Lee Wallace "wiped me out" in the box late in first half.

Taken from the Scotsman

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