THIS match signalled the end of chairman Chris Robinson’s era at the helm as Vladimir Romanov prepared to buy the club.
The game also signalled John Robertson’s first victory at Tynecastle as Hearts manager and it could not have been more impressive. Craig Levein’s successor broke his Gorgie duck at the second attempt following a disappointing loss to Motherwell a fortnight earlier but it was the manner in which the home side swept aside the Fifers which left the biggest impression.
From the first minute, when Mark de Vries set up Dennis Wyness for a shooting chance which he executed superbly only for Derek Stillie to move smartly to keep it out, the warning signs were there for Davie Hay’s team. With third-placed Aberdeen having opened up an eight-point gap over Hearts, Robertson demanded nothing less than maximum points from a fixture which hadn’t seen Dunfermline emerge victorious in 15 years.
The Jambos were dazzling as they swarmed all over the Pars in the early exchanges and when the deadlock was broken with just 11 minutes gone it was apparent it was going to be a long afternoon for the visitors.
The opener arrived after Dunfermline failed to clear their lines after another sweeping Hearts attack, two of the Jambos’ most improved players since the arrival of Robbo combining to provide the foundation for a comfortable win.
Joe Hamill appeared to be relishing the responsibility given to him by the new boss and the exciting young winger provided an inch-perfect cross from the left to pick out the equally rejuvenated Wyness, who bulleted home a header.
The former Inverness goal machine had struggled to live up to previous form which brought him to Hearts but the much-criticised frontman could at least see the funny side of the supporters’ little ditty: “There’s only one Dennis Wyness, he used to be s**** but now he’s alright, walking in a Wyness wonderland.”
Dunfermline’s response was a deflected free-kick from Scott Thomson, Craig Gordon flopping on it at the second attempt. However, the one-way traffic towards Stillie soon resumed, Mark de Vries wasting a great chance just after the half hour when he blazed over from excellent position having been played in by Hamill.
Stillie then did well to deny Andy Webster. The Scotland star was a tower of strength at the back and always dangerous at set pieces and the Fifers’ keeper got down bravely at his feet to turn the ball out for a corner.
Hearts should have been out of sight by the arrival of the half-time whistle. However, any concerns there may have been of paying the price for failing to make the most of their superiority evaporated two minutes after the restart with one mighty swing of Ramon Pereira’s boot.
Played in by De Vries, the former Raith star smashed an unstoppable angled effort past the helpless Stillie to double the hosts’ advantage. Eight minutes later and it was 3-0. Wyness was fouled by Greg Ross in the area and a clean-shaven Paul Hartley celebrated his call-up to the Scotland Future squad – he was in the group for the clash against Germany in Mannheim – by burying his spot-kick.
De Vries could have grabbed a late fourth when he shot wide of target following good build-up play by Hartley.