Dundee 1-2 Hearts: Jambos top league after win

Juanma Delgado slots the ball home from the penalty spot to equalise for Hearts. Picture: SNS
Juanma Delgado slots the ball home from the penalty spot to equalise for Hearts. Picture: SNS
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HEARTS moved to the top of the Scottish Premiership after two second-half goals from Juanma Delgado helped them come from behind to defeat Dundee at Dens Park.

The Tynecastle side made one change to their starting XI from the team that beat St Johnstone 4-3 on the opening weekend, with new signing Juwon Oshaniwa coming in for Sam Nicholson. That meant Igor Rossi moved into centre-back with captain Alim Ozturk stepping up into an unorthodox holding role in midfield.

Dundee started well and Kane Hemmings almost put them ahead when he turned Rossi inside-out as he burst into the right side of the penalty box, but his powerful strike was beaten away by Neil Alexander.

From the resulting corner, Greg Stewart played a one-two with Paul McGowan and clipped over cross which Hemmings glanced in from close range.

Hearts almost equalised in 13 minutes when Juanma touched a Prince Buaben cross through into the path of Jamie Walker, but the forward was denied brilliantly by Scott Bain before nodding the rebound over.

Seconds later Neil Alexander pulled off a remarkable point-blank save to deny Paul McGowan after the midfielder slid in at the far post and looked all set to turn a low Hemmings cross into the net.

Dundee threatened again when Stewart slipped Harkins through inside the box, but the Dundee midfielder screwed his effort wide with only Alexander to beat.

Hearts should have levelled in 37 minutes but Juanma somehow headed an Alim Ozturk wide from five yards out.

It almost proved costly as Dundee surged up the park four minutes later but Ross made a vital interception to stop Hemmings knocking in a Nick Ross cross from the left.

Dundee almost went ahead right on half-time but Alexander made a fine save to keep out Kevin Holt’s header from a Harkins cross.

Robbie Neilson reshuffled the Hearts pack for the start of the second half, with Ozturk moved back to centre-half, Rossi out to left-back and Oshaniwa up to left midfield. It almost paid immediate dividends when Oshaniwa burst towards the six-yard box to try and get on the end of a Walker cutback but the ball just eluded the Nigerian.

After a bright opening to the second 45 minutes, Hearts hauled themselves level. Former Hibs captain James McPake was adjudged to have handled during a melee in the box in the 56th minute and Juanma stepped up to send Bain the wrong way.

Four minutes later, the Spaniard put the visitors ahead when he seized possession out on the left, surged into the box, stepped inside his compatriot, Juan Etxabeguren, and calmly slotted beyond Bain and into the corner of the net from ten yards out.

Hearts survived a scare when Harkins went down under a challenge from Ozturk as he burst into the box but referee Craig Thomson was having none of it. The visitors saw the game out relatively comfortably in the end.

Dundee: Bain, McGinn, McPake, Etxabeguren, Holt, Thomson, McGowan, Ross, Stewart, Harkins, Hemmings. Subs: Mitchell, Meggatt, Irvine, Ferry, Kerr, Konrad, Roberts.

Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Augustyn, Rossi, Oshaniwa (King 75), Gomis, Ozturk, Buaben, Walker, Sow (Nicholson 53), Juanma (Reilly 79). Subs: Hamilton, McHattie, McGhee, McKirdy.

Ref: Craig Thomson

Att: 8222 (2316 Hearts fans)