Hearts 2-1 Inverness: November 26, 2011
Hearts had gone without a win and without a goal for over a month but they broke their four-match drought against Inverness with a hard-fought win at Tynecastle.
After a goalless first half, a splendid Rudi Skacel strike into the Inverness net 25 seconds after the re-start lit-up the match.
Inverness equalised after 57 minutes when Ross Tokely, alone in the box, headed home a Jonny Hayes free-kick from close range.
Eggert Jonsson secured all three points for the Jambos with a simple header from a David Templeton corner 15 minutes from time. With a blustery wind whirling around Tynecastle, it was no place for the faint-hearted and a physical battle ensued that was not pretty but certainly contained entertainment. Tokeley even dislocated a finger and played on – it was that kind of day. To be fair, both sides tried to play skilful football, but robust and largely accurate tackling was the order of the day.
Ryan McGowan set-up the first opportunity of the match after he stole the ball at the bye-line from a hesitant Hayes and cut it back, but Ryan Stevenson scuffed his shot straight at Ryan Esson in the Inverness goal.
The first booking came after just three minutes, when Jonsson tripped Andrew Shinnie. The latter player’s 25-yard effort went just past before Inverness blew a glorious chance to score after 20 minutes. Marius Zaliukas sclaffed his clearance straight to Hayes who put Gregory Tade clean through. The striker had only Marian Kello to beat, but the goalkeeper saved at his feet.
Stevenson was replaced by Mrowiec at half-time and the second half burst into life, Hearts going ahead within 30 seconds of the restart. John Sutton sent a delicious flick to Skacel who scampered into the right-hand side of the box and flashed a low left-foot shot across Esson into the far corner.
Shinnie shot over soon after, before Tokely equalised for Inverness. Hayes’ free-kick from deep on the right evaded a static Hearts defence and the defender headed in at the back post.
Tansey blasted over from 30 yards after winning the ball well in midfield and Terry Butcher’s energised side applied pressure on the Tynecastle team’s defence again.
Tade robbed Andy Webster, Shinnie’s effort was saved by Kello and Hayes hit the follow-up over the bar. Next, Sutton’s shot was deflected wide after he turned Chris Hogg and from the resulting corner the lead was restored. A short set-piece was played, Templeton fired a cross inside the six-yard box and the ball ricocheted off Jonsson’s head and in.
Had Templeton’s late snap-shot hit the net proper rather than the side netting, it would have been a perfect end for the men in maroon. As it was the Hearts players settled for 2-1 and three points in the bank.
Hearts: Kello, McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas, Hamill, Obua, Jonsson, Templeton, Stevenson, Skacel, Sutton.