Maroon Memories: Hearts benefit from new blood transfusion

John Roberston took his derby tally to 23
John Roberston took his derby tally to 23
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IF THEY ever discover his secret, Jim Jefferies could become a wealthy man.

At Falkirk, he showed spectacularly that he had a rare talent for getting a team out of bother by injecting new blood.

He is doing the same trick at Tynecastle, this time giving the old Jam Tarts a foreign blood transfusion with results that have been quite astonishing.

Since he put all three new men in the team, Jefferies has watched his side go from bottom of the table to fifth top inside a fortnight.

To be fair, Pasquale Bruno, Gilles Rousset, and Hans Eskilsson had only supporting roles in this thoroughly deserved derby win but, as John Millar said afterwards, their very presence has given the dressing room a breath of fresh air.

The actual goalscoring was done by two much more familiar faces in John Robertson and Millar himself.

Between them, they have done enough damage to Hibs to warrant severe notoriety in Easter Road circles.

Robertson finds it hard not to score in derbies, his penalty yesterday giving him a total of 23 in these games, while John Millar, with far fewer opportunities, was scoring his third when he put Hearts ahead in the first half. The chance was laid on by one of the Jambos’ best players, Gary Locke, and Millar took advantage of the deflected cross, nipping between Hunter and Leighton to knock it over the line.

It was a goal they had been well overdue, but when Hibs, who at no time played to their potential, equalised with a fine strike by young Chris Jackson, the derby looked open enough. It was Jackson’s first for the club. He took a pass in midfield from McGinlay and ran forward before confidently smacking the ball out of Rousset’s reach from 20 yards.

However, the penalty, awarded without serious dispute after Gary Locke was brought down by Andy Millen and converted by Robertson, came so soon afterwards that Hearts’ confidence did not have time to dip and they finished good winners.

The day ended in deep depression for Michael O’Neill, who had been elated in midweek after having scored twice for Northern Ireland in their 5-3 win over Austria.

He was booked in the last minute for dissent, booked a second time for a foul on Alan Johnston, and thus shown the red card.

However, he could be in even more trouble with the SFA after remonstrating with the fourth official, Bill Crombie, on the touchline, and then being seen on television booting a fire extinguisher on his way up the tunnel.

Hearts: Rousset, Locke, Ritchie, Mackay, Berry, Bruno, Johnston, Eskilsson, Robertson, Fulton, Millar.

Hibs: Leighton, Millen, Tortolano, McGinlay, Tweed, Hunter, McAllister, C Jackson, Evans, D Jackson, O’Neill