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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Colleen Strachan auth-> Brian Winter
Thomson Craig [M Stewart 13] ;[C Finnigan 41] ;[R Flynn 80] ;[M Stewart 93]
5 of 008 Kevin Kyle pen 67 ;Suso Santana 74 ;Kevin Kyle 78LC A

Jambos implode amid the chaos

Published Date: 22 September 2010
By Colleen Strachan
MANAGER Jim Jefferies ripped into his defenders as ten-man Hearts crashed out of the Co-operative Insurance Cup at the hands of First Division Falkirk last night.
The Tynecastle boss was stunned as his side battled back from two goals down to snatch the lead at Westfield - only for them to go on to concede two sloppy goals in the dying minutes and lose 4-3.

It was an incredible night of cup football for neu trals but for Jefferies and the large travelling support, who also saw Craig Thomson shown a straight red card, their overriding emotions at the final whistle were of frustration and disbelief.

Jefferies said: "I don't think I have ever been involved in a game as unbelievable as that. As you can imagine, Billy and I tore into them at half-time.

"We started the game as if we just had to turn up and it would automatically go our way, so we had some harsh words to say about the effort and the application and the desire to go and win a game just like Falkirk did in the opening spell.

"At 1-0 down it was always going to be a tough night with only ten men on the park. I am still trying to get my head around the four goals that we lost. For the first goal the strikers were being played through with nobody marking them, we were too square.

"The second one was worse because on the far side I think Darren (Barr] was on the wrong side of him and allowed him to get the ball, he's beat him and when he squared it across I think we had three people in the box and Carl Finnigan drops off quickest and passes it into the net. There was no-one tight enough, we were flat-footed.

"The second-half was just a magnificent effort from everybody. When we went 3-2 up with 15 minutes to go, you just thought we could see it out and learn our lessons from the first half. But you will never win games giving goals away like that.

"The boy has cut inside and had a free hit, our centre halves were too far away from one another and Darren allowed himself to be muscled out. The boy beat him, we didn't close them down quickly enough. Then the daddy of them all came just when it looked like we were going to be going to extra-time.

"We had the boys warming up because we were going to change it by bringing on some fresh legs in David Obua.
Even if we had put it out for another corner, there probably wouldn't have been enough time for them to take it, all you want is for your defenders to stay switched on.

"McLean got the header at the back post and the man who was supposed to be ma rking him - and he knows who he is - didn't do his job properly and we are out of the cup because of it."

Although they were celebrating at the end of the night, the night hadn't started so well for Falkirk as they were dealt a massive blow in the opening two minutes when Tam McManus was forced off through injury following a challenge with Suso.

Crucially, though, the former Hibs man was replaced by Mark Stewart and the substitute went on to net a double against the SPL side, including the stoppage-time winner.

Hearts had an early chance to edge in front when Thomson swung in a free-kick and it was met by Barr, but the former Falkirk defender's header was wide of Robert Olejnik's right-hand post.

Falkirk showed the visitors how it should be done, though, when they stunned the visitors with less than 15 minutes on the clock. Jack Compton threaded a perfectly-weighted pass through the eye of a needle for Stewart and he kept a cool head to race in on goal before drilling the ball low beyond Marian Kello into the net.

Hearts' night went from bad to worse when Thomson was shown a straight red card for retaliating after a late challenge from Carl Finnigan, while the Falkirk player himself was cautioned for the initial tackle. To counter the sending off, Jefferies reacted almost immediately, although he had to wait a couple of minutes for the ball to go out of play before bringing on Adrian Mrowiec to replace Calum Elliot in an effort to stiffen his side up.

It was clearly a tactical change based on necessity but in taking their hitman off, Hearts looked toothless up front for the remainder of the first half and they found themselves two down before the break when Kallum Higginbotham picked out Stewart down the right and his ball in to the edge of the six-yard box was inch-perfect for Finnigan, who wasted no time in bagging the Bairns' second.

At that stage it looked like Hearts were already down and out, only for them to come out firing on all cylinders for what proved to be an incredible second half.

They hauled themselves right back into the game when they were awarded a spot-kick following a foul on Suso inside the area by Burton O'Brien. The little Spaniard was starting to make his mark on the game but it was Kevin Kyle who stepped up to smash the ball high into the net beyond Olejnik from 12 yards after 67 minutes.

Game on again.

Suso had clearly taken the verbal volley from Jefferies and Brown at half-time to heart and was looking a real threat, his determination winning the Jambos a corner seven minutes later when he forced Mark Twaddle to play the ball o ut under pressure.

The Hearts fans chanted Suso's name as Ryan Stevenson raced over to take the set piece and the former Tenerife man gave them even more to shout about when the ball was swung in, his first shot being blocked by a sea of legs, but it came straight back out to him and this time he took a step or two with the ball at his feet before blasting it in to the net.

Unbelievably Hearts then went in front when Stevenson took a free-kick and it was perfect for Kyle as he rose well above the Bairns defence and powered home a header.

Kyle was booked in the celebrations after the goal for taking his jersey off as he raced to the crowd - many of whom had spilled onto the trackside to greet their goal hero - but he wouldn't have had a care in the world.

Hearts looked to be on their way to the quarter-finals at that point but the dogged Bairns refused to buckle and equalised within a matter of minutes through a brilliant curling effort from Ryan Flynn. Stewart then completed Hearts' night of misery when he got on the end of a Brian McLean headed knock-down to smash home a dramatic winner deep into the three minutes of stoppage time.

Falkirk manager Steven Pressley said: "What a game of football, my word. I didn't know how to summarise that to my players.

"The one thing I would say though is that you have got to give Hearts enormous credit. They were 2-0 down at half-time and down to 10 men as well. In that situation it is very easy to go under but I thought that they showed an unbelievable spirit and mentality to get themselves back into the game.

"But I thought that, in the end, we showed the same, especially after leading for so long. Credit to my players because I thought that we dug it out. When Hearts got themselves on top we showed a terrific spirit.

"In terms of cup ties, you will not find a more exciting or intriguing cup tie than last night.

"The one thing that we encourage is to pass the ball and pass it with real purpose. I thought that the one thing that was missing from our game was that bit of composure in the final third of the pitch. We created some wonderful opportunities but we ended up rushing things."

Taken from the Scotsman

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