London Hearts Supporters Club

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Csaba Laszlo <-auth James Porteous auth-> Charlie Richmond
20 of 027 Bruno Aguiar 61 ;Hristos Karipidis 80 L SPL A

Kilmarnock 0 - 2 Hearts

JAMES PORTEOUS January 19 2009

It's hard to imagine Csaba Laszlo delivering a fiery half-time speech to inspire Hearts: the Hungarian manager has driven Edinburgh reporters to distraction with his never-ending, tortuous answers to press conference questions.

In the dressing room, though, he must be more inspiring - or perhaps his players just can't wait to get back on the pitch. After somehow escaping from the first half with clean sheet intact, Hearts stole a valuable three points to halt a damaging run of five games without a win and maintain the pressure on Aberdeen and Dundee United in the race for third place.

On an awful day to be outdoors, never mind trying to play decent football, Hearts profited from the sole outbreak of quality play in the match, Michael Stewart bursting forward, playing a one-two with Bruno Aguiar, then giving the Portuguese the ball back for him to stroke it into the net from 18 yards.

Hearts didn't look like a team with UEFA Cup ambitions. They are efficient not exciting, their two-tier, five-man midfield designed to stifle the opposition in the hope of snatching something on the counter-attack. The gameplan worked perfectly on Saturday and Laszlo must take credit for getting his players organised and instilling a work ethic.

Hristos Karipidis, who headed in the second goal as Christophe Berra nodded Robbie Neilson's long free-kick back across goal, credited Laszlo for the changes he has made since taking over in the summer.

"The manager works very good, we changed a lot of things this season, it's more about the tactics and for me this is very important," said the Greek, who shielded the back four with Stewart.

"If you keep your shape first, then you can try to counter-attack when you play away.

"Also, we have good spirit, everybody is friends in the dressing room. It was not the best game, but during the second half we changed something.

"Football is about luck and after you score it's difficult for the other team to come back."

The win put the pressure on Dundee United, which seemed to tell yesterday as they were thrashed by Motherwell. United and Hearts are now level on points, but whether the Edinburgh side can maintain that pressure surely depends on events off the pitch over the next couple of weeks.

Aguiar, Christophe Berra, Andrew Driver, Eggert Johnson, Laryea Kingston and Marius Zaliukas have all been linked with other clubs and it would be a blow to lose any of them. On the other hand, a successful approach for Motherwell's Chris Porter - who helped out his would-be employers with a goal at Tannadice - could provide them with the attacking focus they lack.

Kilmarnock were the better side for 45 minutes, but didn't take their chances. Just like last Wednesday against Aberdeen, and just like countless other occasions this season.

"I can't believe we've lost the last couple," admitted Danny Invincibile, who was culpable for the worst miss, heading wide across goal from six yards out. "It's happening too often and the coaches have said that. We're not playing the full 90 minutes. We have a wee spell where it goes against us and our heads drop."

As supporters filed out of the stadium on Saturday, they seemed almost unconcerned by the defeat, speaking only about this week's Rugby Park Homecoming Scottish Cup replay against Ayr United. Unfortunately, Kilmarnock have lost more games at home than any other team except bottom-placed Inverness.

"We've got to go out there and win on Thursday," added Invincibile. "Losing's not an option."

Taken from the Herald

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