HEARTS, moving freely and shooting powerfully, beat Hibs decisively at Tynecastle. The score was, however, indicative more of the winners’ ability to take their chances than of the visitors’ inferiority as a team.
Hibs dominated play in the first quarter of an hour, during which the home defence held out somewhat fortuitously, surviving a scare in the opening minute. Gordon Smith went tearing up to the goal-line, following a slip by McKenzie. Willie Ormond met the chest-high cross that came raging across the goalmouth, but with the whole goal wide open the ball went straight to Willie Duff.
For the next five minutes Hearts’ defence were worried. John Cumming stopped Smith from getting in his shot and Lawrie Reilly, two yards out, completely missed a Bobby Johnstone cross from the right touchline.
Reilly missed another glorious chance, and then Hearts made a siege on the Hibs goal. They had a penalty appeal waved aside, then Freddie Glidden had a 30-yard drive that dipped as it went over the bar.
Hearts took the lead in the 17th minute. From a Souness corner kick Willie Bauld flicked on to Jimmy Wardhaugh, whose header sailed away from Willie Miller’s reach into the net.
Then Hearts hit the high sports with some sparkling play and cracked in two goals in as many minutes. From another corner in the 23rd minute Wardhaugh headed over the advancing Miller’s head and Bauld was on the ball in a jiffy to nod home.
Bauld made it three when he smashed in a great shot that entered the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Hearts were now rampant. They had Hibs’ defence all at sea as they surged round Miller’s goalmouth. The keeper was flat out heading a hard ground shot from Bauld, and Hearts almost got another goal after a glorious move by Bauld, who sent Alfie Conn through. The inside left’s shot had Miller completely beaten as the ball slipped inches past the post.
With a view presumably to stiffening their defence, Hibs moved Jock Paterson to centre-half and played John Grant at right-back and Willie McFarlane at left-back.
Hibs went all out to redeem themselves as they surged in on Hearts’ goal. Bobby Combe took a quick free-kick 20 yards out and Ormond had two chances before sending over the bar. But the Hibs rally was not maintained.
Hibs did not give up the unequal struggle and several times came near to scoring but in all their work there was never the directness of approach and accuracy of passing and shooting which characterised Hearts’ play of which another feature was the solid backing given to the forwards by the half-backs.
Apart from Smith, who gave a delightful display of ball control and purposeful running, the Hibs forwards were disappointing.
The occasions on which they moved rhythmically were rare. Hearts’ forwards, in contrast, were always moving as a line, inspired by either Wardhaugh or Bauld, both of whom had a very profitable afternoon.
Hearts added a fourth goal when Wardhaugh pounced on a pass back by McFarlane in the 69th minute to shoot into the net from 12 yards.
Conn made it “nap” with a great run and shot 15 minutes from the end.
Hearts: Duff, Parker, McKenzie, Mackay, Glidden, Cumming, Souness, Conn, Bauld, Wardhaugh, Urquhart.
Hibs: Miller, McFarlance, Paterson, Turnbull, Grant, Preston, Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Combe, Ormond.