London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 28 Feb 2009 Dundee United 0 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type News of the World ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth None auth-> Eddie Smith
22 of 039 Michael Stewart 62 L SPL A


JAMBOS’ matchwinner Michael Stewart last night blasted ropey ref Eddie Smith for handing United a late lifeline with a dodgy penalty decision.

The Scotland midfielder also slated Craig Levein’s side for their ugly style of football.

Stewart grabbed the only goal of a bad-tempered affair with a stunning strike in the 62nd minute to send Csaba Laszlo’s side five points clear of the Tangerines in third place.

Hearts are now in the driving seat to claim an automatic European place next season — and Stewart was delighted to get one over on United.

He said: “This was a massive result for us. We set our stall out to make sure that we didn’t lose the game.

“If United were going to take the three points then they were going to have to beat us because we weren’t going to give much away.

“This isn’t an easy place to come to. The pitch isn’t fantastic and Dundee United hit a lot of long balls and they have big players who make it difficult for you by winning a lot of headers and knockdowns.

“The football can be very scrappy, but we made sure we were difficult to beat and got the goal to nick the three points.”

Stewart was perfectly placed to see Eggert Jonsson win the ball from Francisco Sandaza in the 80th minute, only for ref Smith to point to the spot.

He said: “It was a massive relief to us when Janos Balogh saved his penalty. I wasn’t too far away from the incident and my initial reaction was that it was a horrendous decision.

“I’ll need to see it again on TV before I discover whether I should change my mind about that, but I was very surprised by the decision to give the penalty.”

Hearts are now favourites to claim a place in the Europa Cup, but Stewart claims he and his team-mates haven’t tempted fate by discussing it.

He insisted: “It’s not something we’ve spoken much about.

“The gaffer has, throughout the season, made the point to us that if we’re in or around the top six, then we’ll at least give ourselves the chance to finish third.

“The longer the season has gone, the more it seems that we’ve gone from strength-to-strength.

“Every time there’s a hurdle in our way, even if we stumble at the first one, we get back up clear the next one.

“I think a lot of that is down to the mentality the manager has instilled in the players. We stuck to our game plan and everyone was singing from the same hymn sheet.”

Six minutes to take a penalty — why?

Stewart’s goal had an element of luck about it. His first strike knocked team-mate Adrian Mrowiec over, but he seized on the rebound to drill a left-foot shot low past Lukasz Zaluska.

The goal hero joked: “Adrian is claiming an assist off his backside.

“We were missing players today but there was a real determination to keep things going. It might not have been pretty to watch but it personified the fighting spirit in the team.”

However, spot-kick sinner Sandaza claimed the Jambos were guilty of gamesmanship by wasting time while he prepared to take the spot-kick.

First of all they appealed to Smith against the decision and then they demanded that Mrowiec, who had gone down just inside the Hearts half, receive treatment before the kick was taken.

When the Spaniard did finally attempt to convert the award, Janos Balogh saved easily low to his right.

Sandaza fumed: “The referee must take control. Six minutes to take a penalty — why?

“Was it a foul in the first place? I don’t know — I’ll need to see it again on TV.”


Sandaza also blamed the state of the Tannadice pitch for his miss. He said: “I tried to level the grass with my boot before I took the kick but it was a really s*** attempt — I don’t know what happened.

“I said sorry to my team-mates in the dressing room because we worked hard and created many chances. I thought I played well and we were unlucky.”

They weren’t really. Apart from a few half-chances early on, when Balogh saved well enough from Sandaza, twice, and Paul Caddis, and Robbie Neilson cleared off the line from Darren Dods, United weren’t at the races.

Sandaza and Co had plenty of possession, but lacked the imagination to do much with it. They sorely miss the influence of Willo Flood, now at Celtic, and crocked Scott Robertson.

Hearts didn’t exactly set the pulses racing either. One shot from Mrowiec which was deflected wide by Lee Wilkie was all they had to show apart from their goal.

Jambos boss Laszlo said: “This was an important game for both teams, so I’m very happy with the result.

“We had a good unit on the field and our goalkeeper made a fantastic save atb the penalty.”

United boss Craig Levein was determined to remain positive, in spite of the fact his side have now managed just one league win in 2009.

He said: “I’m disappointed with the result, but not the performance. We did everything we could to try and win the game.

“We showed a little bit of desperation towards the end, but we had chances to win the game and I thought our midfield was better than theirs, so there’s plenty of encouragement to be taken.”

DUNDEE UTD: Zaluska, Kovacevic, Wilkie, Dods, Grainger (Dixon 71), Caddis, Buaben, Gomis, Wesolowski (Conway 65), Feeney (Daly 77), Sandaza. Subs not used: McGovern, Dillon, David Robertson, Shala.

HEARTS: Balogh, Neilson, Jonsson, Karipidis, Lee Wallace, Obua, Palazuelos, Stewart, Driver, Aguiar, Mrowiec (Cesnauskis 83). Subs not used: Kello, Mikoliunas, Thomson, Elliot, McGowan, Husband.

From the News of the World

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