Hearts 3-0 Motherwell: Johnsen, Walker & Djoum steal the show
Bjorn Johnsen and Jamie Walker fired the goals as Hearts won for the first time in five games. However, an eye injury to Callum Paterson leaves him doubtful to face Rangers in midweek.
Johnsen scored once in each half to crown an excellent performance after linking brilliantly with midfielder Arnaud Djoum. Walker struck the third to confirm the end of Hearts' recent run without victory. Motherwell competed well at Tynecastle but lacked sufficient guile to properly trouble their hosts.Paterson was withdrawn with a badly cut and swollen eye after 26 minutes, the result of a collision with visiting centre-back Ben Heneghan. Both players were left grounded and went off for treatment before returning to the fray. Paterson was eventually substituted as he toiled to see out of his left eye, which began closing due to swelling.The injury will be assessed by medical staff at Riccarton ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Rangers at Tynecastle. It was the only negative on an afternoon when Hearts looked at their dynamic best, especially in attack where Johnsen and Djoum combined superbly.Pressure was on the home team to win at kick-off following a run of three draws and a defeat in their last four matches. Igor Rossi returned from suspension in central defence as Alim Ozturk dropped out of the matchday squad entirely. Motherwell manager Mark McGhee retained the same starting line-up from last week's 2-0 victory over Partick Thistle.Walker, scorer of two goals in Monday night's 3-3 draw at Hamilton, tested the Motherwell keeper Craig Samson three times in the opening minutes. It was a strong opening by the hosts which was interrupted when Paterson and Heneghan clashed going for a corner on 17 minutes.Both players left the field for treatment before returning - Paterson with his left eye blown up like a balloon and Heneghan with a bandaged head following stitches. On 26 minutes, Hearts coach Robbie Neilson decided Paterson couldn't continue and replaced him with Liam Smith.Johnsen showed admirable composure to open the scoring five minutes later. He collected a precise through ball from Djoum on the run and calmly rounded the emerging Samson to slide the ball into an empty net. Moments later, Djoum might have doubled the advantage but his connection with Walker's cross on the run rolled wide.Johnsen hit the net with a looping header from Faycal Rherras' cross ten minutes from the interval, but the striker was denied a second goal by the offside flag. Djoum's first-time shot from Walker's cutback rose over the crossbar before Samson produced a brilliant save low to his right to stop Rossi's attempt from Robbie Muirhead's corner.There was no denying those in maroon deserved their lead come the interval, although they were by no means secure at 1-0 ahead. The spurning of chances surely couldn't continue without a consequence.Johnsen was enjoying his best outing since arriving in Edinburgh. As well as linking with Djoum, the American was also dangerous from Muirhead's swirling corner-kicks. It was that combination which produced the game's second goal on 50 minutes.Johnsen rose to glance Muirhead's delivery goalwards and Motherwell substitute Lionel Ainsworth could keep the ball from landing in the net. Hearts were in control at 2-0 and simply had to stay focused to see the game out.Rherras did just that with a vital goal-line clearance to deal with Heneghan's header from a corner. Motherwell hadn't offered much in an attacking sense and were now desperately searching for a route back into the match. Ainsworth tried a venomous effort from 35 yards which whistled low past Jack Hamilton's left post.Walker put the final result beyond all doubt with a crisp finish across Samson and into the far corner of the net from a tight angle. Again, the assist belonged to Djoum with a weighted through pass. The 3-0 scoreline was by that point a fair reflection of proceedings. As Hearts relaxed slightly, it required John Souttar's late sliding clearance to deny Ainsworth a consolation, and Rherras also stopped Louis Moult's header on the goal line.There was time before the end for Hearts to grant 18-year-old striker Rory Currie his competitive debut. He replaced Don Cowie and would have enjoyed the pressure-free introduction to senior football with the game finished as a contest.
Hearts (4-2-3-1): Hamilton; Paterson, Souttar, Rossi, Rherras; Cowie, Kitchen; Walker, Djoum, Muirhead; Johnsen.Subs26: L Smith for Paterson69: Sammon for Johnsen76: Currie for CowieUnused subs: Noring, Buaben, Nowak, Watt.
Motherwell (4-4-1-1): Samson; Tait, Heneghan, McManus, McMillan; Cadden, Lasley, Clay, Ferguson; McDonald; Moult.Subs46: Ainsworth for Ferguson46: Hammell for McMillan65: Hastie for CaddenUnused subs: Brill, Bowman, Campbell, MacLean.
Referee: Bobby Madden.Attendance: 16,199.