Writer: Specs Haver
Date:Saturday December 3 2011
With a disinterested owner, late wages and the likelihood of mass redundancies at Tynecastle, it`s little wonder that we witnessed just how all this was affecting the Hearts players, as they struggled to impose themselves on a confident St.Johnstone team whose wage bill is probably less than 20% of ours.
In the end, the visitors scored 2 goals thanks to poor defending by Hearts. In the 3rd minute, Marian Kello rushed to the edge of his box to try to intercept a cross from the right, while Webster and Zaliukas also failed to clear the situation, allowing the ball to fall to Liam Craig who cleverly lobbed it into the empty net.
Hearts showed almost no creativity in the first half, and I simply couldn`t understand why Ryan Stevenson had been left on the bench.
An early 2nd half chance should have been converted by substitute Stephen Elliott, but his header went wide. Then with 20 minutes remaining, Hearts won a penalty when John Sutton was held in the box - but Peter Enckelmann made a very good save from Jamie Hamill`s kick.
The visitor's 2nd goal came from a penalty, given away by Eggert Jonsson, after Ryan McGowan made a clumsy attempt to clear the ball from the bye line.
A consolation goal came late on from Hearts` best footballer Mehdi Taouil, who placed a lovely shot inside Enckelmann`s left-hand post. A last -gasp chance fell to Stephen Elliott, but his shot was brilliantly saved by the visitor`s keeper.
In truth, there was little between the teams. Hearts produced more pressure after half-time, but there was a distinct lack of belief in some of their attacks -
Zaliukas and McGowan made a lot of mistakes at the back, while Skacel was quiet for the whole game. Hearts frustration showed at the end when Mrowiec and substitute Stevenson indulged in an angry confrontation with each other - perhaps a sign that the players are not all on the same wavelength.
In recent seasons, Motherwell and Dundee Utd have achieved 3rd place finishes - while this season, the Fir Park side along with St.Johnstone have started to pull away from the rest. Apart from Goodwillie at Utd, these teams contained no star players. Their squads were slimmer than ours, and their wage bills would be a fraction of ours.
So it begs the question - why do Hearts bother paying £10m in wages ? Sure, we`ve had two 3rd place finishes in the past 3 seasons - but at an absurd financial cost. Even our 2 "star" players are grossly under-performing. David Templeton is now simply gong through the motions, while opposing defences have worked out how to limit his impact. Andrew Driver has fallen out of favour for some reason - but in the few appearances this season, he had become a pale shadow of the player we thought he was going to be.
These are grim times for the club, with the immediate objective being to shed at least 12 players while trying to stay clear of a relegation battle in the SPL. But the exploits of lesser clubs like Kilmarnock, Motherwell and St. Johnstone this season show that Hearts are simple wasting their money in a vain attempt to catch the Old Firm, when the reality is that we can`t even consistently be the "best of the rest".
Who would you like to see retained for next season from the current squad ?
Date:Saturday December 3 2011
Hearts Snatch Point In Dramatic Edinburgh Derby (Sunday April 3 2011)
Remember THAT transfer window ? (pt 1) (Monday February 7 2011)
Hearts - Saints Player Ratings (Sunday January 30 2011)
Hearts should use Chick Young as motivation !! (Friday January 28 2011)
Hearts 1-0 Rangers - Player Ratings (Sunday January 23 2011)
Who should Hearts try to sign ? (Wednesday January 12 2011)
Hearts lead SPL sceptics ? (Wednesday January 5 2011)
Hearts icons of ... the 1980s (part 2) (Tuesday December 7 2010)
Hearts icons of .... the 1980s (part 1) (Thursday December 2 2010)
Scottish football - a mad upside-down world (Saturday November 27 2010)
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