Hearts 2 - 0 Motherwell: Hearts surge to comfortable win over Well

Paulo Sergio pulls aside substitute Andrew Driver for what could be his final appearance for Hearts. Picture: SNS
Paulo Sergio pulls aside substitute Andrew Driver for what could be his final appearance for Hearts. Picture: SNS
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HEARTS granted their supporters some early Christmas cheer with an impressive and thoroughly professional win over Motherwell at Tynecastle.

First-half strikes from Ian Black and Stephen Elliott, both

of which were created by David Templeton, brought the Edinburgh club

their second successive victory and another clean sheet following last

week’s defeat of Dunfermline.

Motherwell’s excellent away form this season counted for little as

Hearts earned three well deserved points in this Christmas Eve fixture.

The hosts controlled the first 45 minutes and found themselves two goals

to the good through Black’s driven shot and Elliott’s tap-in. A

disciplined second-half display helped them see the game out and thus

lift some of the gloom enveloping Tynecastle of late.

Ryan Stevenson did not feature after walking out on Wednesday, but Andy

Driver returned as a substitute after declaring himself committed to

Hearts. Darren Barr also made a rare appearance in place of the injured

Jamie Hamill.

Both goalkeepers produced early saves as Michael Higdon and David

Templeton attempted to gain a quick advantage for their sides. Hearts

settled into a smooth passing rhythm and moved ahead on 17 minutes.

Keith Lasley’s short pass to Tom Hateley was intercepted by David

Templeton, who sprinted forward only to see his attempt at goal blocked.

Black collected the rebound, sidestepped Lasley and drove the ball into

the net from 20 yards with his weaker left foot.

Templeton was chief creator for Hearts’ second 11 minutes later. The

winger spun clear of Hateley and, after another piercing run, crossed to

the unmarked Elliott to convert from close range. Paulo Sergio danced

for joy in the technical area and there was little debating Hearts’

dominance at that juncture as their guests looked slightly overwhelmed.

Hateley in particular toiled to cope with the rampant Templeton.

Omar Daley’s cross rebounded off a post as half-time approached but

Hearts preserved their clean sheet. The two-goal lead gave them

something to protect in the second period, although it might have been

extended had Shaun Hutchinson not deflected Ryan McGowan’s effort to

safety after the restart.

Hearts goalkeeper Marian Kello pushed away Hateley’s swerving corner

which threatened to arc in under his crossbar, then another error from

Hateley let Templeton in behind the Motherwell defence again. This time,

with support scarce, his shot from an acute angle was repelled by

goalkeeper Darren Randolph. That was to be Templeton’s last act of the

afternoon as he made way for Driver.

Motherwell then conducted a double substitution by introducing Bob

McHugh and Stuart Carswell in an effort to regain a foothold in

proceedings. The next replacement was enforced as Hamill left the field

on a stretcher after falling under no pressure clutching his left ankle.

Barr, recovered from hernia surgery, took his place.

Hateley’s 76th-minute free-kick flew over Kello’s crossbar but that, in

truth, was the sum total of Motherwell’s attempts to get back into this

encounter. The sound of the final whistle brought cheers of satisfaction

from the Tynecastle support, who were doubtless grateful for the early

Christmas present.

Hearts: Kello; Hamill (Barr 72, Webster, Zaliukas, McGowan;

Mrowiec, Black (Skacel 86); Taouil, Robinson, Templeton (Driver 62);

Elliott. Subs: MacDonald, Obua, Novikovas, Stewart.

Motherwell: Randolph; Hateley, Hutchinson, Craigan, Hammell;

Hughes (Carswell 66), Lasley; Daley, Law, Murphy (McHugh 66); Higdon.

Subs: Bradley, Humphrey, Forbes, Page, Clancy.

Referee: Crawford Allan

Attendance: 13,300