Maroon Memories: Kirk double helps Hearts do Well

Andy Kirk bagged two headers for Hearts
Andy Kirk bagged two headers for Hearts
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NORTHERN IRISH striker Andy Kirk notched two goals at Tynecastle as Hearts made sure of a top-six place in the SPL.

Manager Craig Levein made three changes to the side which drew 0-0 at Dens Park two weeks before, with captain Steven Pressley, Robert Tomaschek and Robbie Neilson coming in and Grant Murray, Scott Severin and Juanjo dropping out.

The Jambos were on the attack inside the opening minute and Motherwell’s Derek Townsley had to head a Thomas Flogel cross clear with Kirk waiting to pounce inside the area.

Midfielder Boyack then picked up a loose ball at the edge of the Well box, but he couldn’t test home goalkeeper Steve Woods as he sent his strike over the crossbar. Shorty after, Makel went close from 25 yards, with the the ball just going wide of Woods’ right-hand post.

Hearts continued to press and it was no surprise when they got the opener in the 15th minute, Tomaschek picking up a headed clearance 30 yards from goal and sending an unstoppable drive into the net past Woods.

Hearts should have doubled their lead just a minute later when Colin Cameron split the Motherwell defence and left Boyack with only the goalkeeper to beat.

The ex-Dundee man did well to round Woods, but home captain Scott Leitch tracked back to put in a great last-gasp tackle just as Boyack set himself to stroke the ball into the empty goal. The visitors’ plans were further upset on the half-hour mark when Townsley was taken off with an injury.

Things then got worse for Motherwell shortly after when future Jambo Kevin Twaddle had to be replaced by youngster Stephen Nicholas.

The impressive Cameron was unlucky with a curled shot from 20 yards which went inches wide as half-time approached.

Greg Strong was unlucky to see his effort from six yards cannon off the post as Motherwell sought an equaliser.

Hearts started the second half brightly, pushing the visitors onto the back foot with Boyack causing problems down the right-hand side with some great runs.

The home side clawed their way back into the game gradually and Stuart Elliott sprung the Hearts offside trap, only to stumble to the ground after rounding Hearts keeper Antti Niemi and consequently the chance was lost.

Hearts’ reply was to go up the other end and double their lead.

When Boyack’s cross came in from the right on 63 minutes, the unmarked Kirk jumped to head home a simple goal from six yards. The third and final goal was secured with ten minutes remaining as Neilson crossed in and Kirk won a free header.

Well came close to a consolation as the match drew to a close, but Makel was on the line to clear Keith Lasley’s header.

The Jambos would go on to finish in fifth as they won just one of their remaining six league encounters.

Hearts: Niemi, Neilson, Pressley, McKenna, McCann, Flogel, Cameron, Makel, Tomascheck, Boyack, Kirk.