London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2009-10--> All for 20100202
<-Page <-Team Tue 02 Feb 2010 St Mirren 1 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth auth-> Charlie Richmond
[B Mehmet 51]
6 of 008 -----LC N

Hearts 0 - 1 St Mirren: Moment of magic from Billy Mehmet floors Hearts

Published Date: 03 February 2010
By Stuart Bathgate
at Fir Park
A SUPERB strike by Billy Mehmet ended Jim Jefferies' dreams of taking Hearts to the Co-operative Insurance Cup final in just his second game back as manager, and took St Mirren into the final of the competition for the first time since season 1955-56.

Gus MacPherson's side were matched for effort by Hearts, but made chances far more readily, and in Mehmet's finish they could boast a moment of quality worthy of winning the final itself.

They will find out tonight, depending on the outcome of the match between Rangers and St Johnstone, who they will play in the final at Hampden on 21 March. They will be underdogs, of course, if they are up against the champions, but if they can play with the spirit they showed at Motherwell's ground last night their hopes of winning the competition for the first time should not be too hastily dismissed. Hearts began the game with a sense of urgency and self-belief which had been conspicuously lacking in some of their outings this year, but while that could partly be attributed to their preparation by Jefferies, they were also helped by an easing of their injury worries.

The new manager was able to make four changes to the starting line-up he had selected for last Saturday's match at St Johnstone, with Lee Wallace and Ian Black available after injury, and Gordon Smith and Andrew Driver being promoted from the bench.

St Mirren also started in a positive frame of mind, and had the first scoring chances of the evening. A couple were no more than half chances which did not trouble Marian Kello, but the opportunity presented to Michael Higdon after a clearance ricocheted back into his path was a better one with which he should have done better. The striker ran on to the ball just ahead of Hearts centre-half Marius Zaliukas, but had to stretch to get his shot in and could do no more than poke it straight to Kello. Midway through the half Jack Ross saw a shot deflected narrowly wide off Zaliukas. A run and shot from Mehmet moments later hit the side netting, and although Hearts continued to enjoy more or less equal possession it was notable that they had been unable to create similar openings. An injury to Ismael Bouzid forced Jefferies to make the first substitution of the evening, with Dawid Kucharski coming on in a straight swap for the central defender. It was shortly after that alteration, and just before half an hour had been played, that Hearts for the first time really threatened Paul Gallacher's goal.

A corner from the left by Driver was headed down by Christian Nade, allowing Smith to take a first-time swing at the ball which went just past the post. Hearts' main problem, as it has been throughout the season, was the lack of a link between midfield and the two-man strike force of Smith and Nade. Jefferies hopes that the signing of Ryan Stevenson will be the solution, but the former Ayr United player was cup-tied for this match. St Mirren had no such problems, and in the opening minutes of the second half Mehmet and Higdon again had chances. Then, six minutes after the restart, the pair combined with Ross to give their side the lead. Ross's ball infield could have been gathered by Higdon, but instead he dummied, allowing it to run to his striking partner. Mehmet took the ball first time, curling his shot past Kello from more than 20 yards out. Hearts responded by bringing Suso Santana on for Black, but they could have been two down minutes later when, on the counter-attack, Higdon slid a ball through for Dorman to chase. With Jason Thomson bearing down on him Dorman shot strongly, but Kello blocked and the danger was cleared. For a time after that, the more Hearts pushed up in search of the equaliser, the more St Mirren looked like adding to their tally on the break. Then, going into the last quarter of an hour, the Edinburgh team began to find more space in their opponents' box, particularly down the left flank. The closest they came to an equaliser was from that direction, when Driver broke clear and shot across Gallacher, but John Potter was well positioned to clear the ball just a yard or two out from goal. After a hectic start to his new post, Jefferies at least has a few days now in which to work with his new team. He has said he would rather have a Scottish Cup tie to play on Saturday than have that preparation time, and obviously he would also rather have a final in this competition to look forward to.

But finishing in the top six is his aim for the season now, and he could certainly do with some breathing space before the league resumes in midweek.

Taken from the Scotsman

<-Page <-Team Tue 02 Feb 2010 St Mirren 1 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © |