London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 17 Jan 2009 Kilmarnock 0 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Gary Ralston auth-> Charlie Richmond
23 of 027 Bruno Aguiar 61 ;Hristos Karipidis 80 L SPL A

Kilmarnock 0 Hearts 2

Jan 19 2009 By Gary Ralston at Rugby Park

CSABA LASZLO could cause carnage at a donkey sanctuary and yet he's grooming a stable of impressive SPL stayers.

The Hearts boss has never met a sentence he doesn't like but if you now stand outside Tynecastle atop the pile of hind legs he has talked off since the start of the season you can begin to catch glimpses of Europe.

His monologues - delivered, remember, in only his third language - race along as jauntily as the donkeys on Blackpool beach and often with the same entertaining indiscipline, veering this way, staggering that, as football writers clutch at the reins of our Bic biros for dear life.

Laszlo never fails to reach the finishing line and make his point, just as he is succeeding in getting his message across to a squad of players whose character is beginning to speak volumes in terms of results even if occasionally, like at Kilmarnock, their performance leaves a lot to be desired.

The Jambos stank like fresh manure for 60 minutes at Rugby Park and yet still emerged smelling of roses and with their Europa Cup hopes intact.

Now it's surely no exaggeration to suggest the next four weeks, on and off the pitch, have the potential to make or break their season.

Four of their next five matches, including their Scottish Cup tie against Falkirk, are at home to sides below them in the league before they travel to fourth-placed Dundee United on February 28.

The transfer window will undoubtedly leave Hearts weaker if players like Christophe Berra, Marius Zaliukas and Andrew Driver are allowed to leave for fat fees, especially as replacements have not yet been guaranteed.

Hearts can surely not afford to be struck dumb just as their voice is beginning to be heard again in the upper reaches of the SPL.

Midfielder Christos Karipidis said: "The manager has done a very good job so far. We've changed alot of things this season, tactically, how to hold our shape, how best to counter attack away from home so we can score.

"It's important we also have a good spirit, the players are all friends. We don't have big names at Hearts but we work well together to reach targets we have set.

"The next couple of weeks are going to be important. For me, football is business so that means if a player such as Berra has the opportunity to move to a bigger club you must give him this chance. He has a future, he can't play with Hearts for 10 or 15 years but if he goes you must also bring in quality players to replace him because we don't have a big squad.

"However, we do have a good spirit and that was shown at Kilmarnock. It's true we didn't play very well in the first half but we're happy with the three points.

"We carried a little bit of luck but had the confidence to remain in front once we scored and the timing of our goals was good.

"It was important we won this game, especially as it would have given Kilmarnock the chance to close the gap on us if they had taken three points.

"I must credit the manager as he can read the game well from the side of the park. He told us at half time we had to be more aggressive in difficult conditions and he set us up well to play on the counter attack in the second half."

It was Karipidis who wrapped up the points for the visitors, nodding home from close range on 80 minutes after a Michael Stewart free-kick was headed into his path in the box by Berra.

Hearts had taken the lead on the hour with their first meaningful pattern of play as Stewart and Driver combined on the left before the former played in Bruno Aguiar to rifle a low shot past Alan Combe from 22 yards.

They'll find Shergar before they come up with reasons for Killie staring defeat in the face at that stage in a match they had dominated.

Killie were mugged but have now lost seven of their last eight games at home and were masters of their own downfall, especially in the first half as David Fernandez blasted over when clean through and Danny Invincibile nodded wide from the same area where Karipidis later prospered.

They passed the ball with vim and vigour while the Jambos, forced into four changes from the team that beat Hibs in the Cup, struggled in the wind and rain.

However, once they went behind Killie's previous self-belief, like LaToya Jackson's personality, was nowhere to be seen.

Their cup replay looms against Ayr at Rugby Park on Thursday night and Invincibile laid it on the line for his team-mates.

He said: "They've been waiting for four or five years to see a derby game at our ground. Losing's not an option. I wouldn't even walk into town - God forbid, the fans probably wouldn't even allow us to leave the dressing room for two days with the yelling we'd get. It's unthinkable, it can't happen.

"We've got to get back that feeling of winning at home because I can't believe we've lost our last couple of games at Rugby Park, not just the game against Hearts.

"We played really well in the first half and created a few excellent chances, including my own.

"No excuses, I should have put that header away. We're starting well and dominating teams but can't sustain it for 90 minutes.

"Maybe we're losing a little momentum when a spell in the match goes against us and the heads drop, but you can't allow that to happen in football. It's something we've got to rectify because it could massively affect our hopes of making the top six.

"We've been on a stretch of 12 games that didn't involve the Old Firm and we reckoned a decent winning run would help us climb back up the ladder but we've got to start producing.

"Seven defeats out of our last eight games is worrying, especially ahead of Thursday."

Jamie MacDonald (Hearts)

The passing and movement leading to Hearts' first was an excellent piece of football.

Taken from the Daily Record

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