LiveHearts 2 - 0 Ayr United RECAP: Gnanduillet & Walker send Tynecastle side 15 points clear

Hearts can increase their lead at the top of the Championship once more this afternoon as they welcome Ayr United to Tynecastle Park.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 4:55 pm
All the action from Hearts v Ayr in the Championship. Picture: SNS

Raith Rovers’ draw with Inverness CT in the Highlands on Friday night saw the Fifers fail to make a serious dent in the gap to the league leaders.

Hearts know that a win and three points will see the gap at the top of the table increase to at least 15 points, potentially 16 depending on how Dunfermline Athletic fare at home to Greenock Morton.

The Jam Tarts got back to winning ways last weekend with a big 2-1 victory over Dundee in Gorgie and are currently on a seven game unbeaten run.

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Ayr United have a new manager in former Morton and Livingston boss David Hopkin. He was installed earlier this week and the Honest Men could provide stuffy opposition.

We will have all the latest updates, reaction and analysis from Tynecastle throughout the afternoon.

Hearts v Ayr United LIVE: All the action from Tynecastle Park as Robbie Neilon’s men look to take step towards Premiership

Last updated: Saturday, 13 March, 2021, 16:55

  • Kick-off: 3pm
  • Team news: 1.45pm

FT: Hearts 2 - 0 Ayr United

Hearts increase lead at the top of the Championship to 15 points.

It was a difficult game for the home side but they were always in control. They kept knocking at the door until it opened.

Gnanduillet once again displayed just how shrewd a signing he has been. He has provided Hearts with genuine aerial threat in attack and it proved crucial from Andy Irving’s cross.

The Frenchman led the line well as Hearts get closer to sealing their return to the Premiership.

Neilson tweaked the system a few times with some players not on their game, while keeping David Hopkin second guessing. Pushing Boyce into a striker role having been a 10 nearly paid dividends.

Another step closer.

Kastaneer played in by Walker after good work from Boyce but his shot is saved.

Hearts seal the three points! 2-0!

A change to a 3-5-2 sees Smith advance down the right. His cross is headed inadvertently by Kastaneer into the path of Walker who thrashes a shot past Sinisalo.

Hearts are pushing for the goal to seal the win, Boyce had an effort deflected wide before Walker flashed a shot across the face of goal.

Gnanduillet thumps in a header to open the scoring. No one could compete with the Frenchman as he rose highest to meet Irving’s free-kick.

Walker with a bad miss straight after coming on. A Smith shot ricocheted into his path but he scooped the ball over when he looked destined to score.

Walker with a bad miss straight after coming on. A Smith shot ricocheted into his path but he scooped the ball over when he looked destined to score.

GMS & McEneff OFF, Walker & Kastaneer ON

Sinisalo denies Gnanduillet for the second time in the game. Brilliant play from Smith, coming in off the flank and playing a through ball created the chance.

Hearts started the half in a 4-2-3-1 with Boyce at the tip and Halliday and GMS wide. Now it’s 4-4-2 with Neilson telling Boyce to go up front.

It has been a game of little entertainment at Tynecastle park.

Hearts have struggled against obdurate opposition. Ayr have got all 11 players behind the ball out of possession and defended deep. It has meant the home team have had a lot of the ball in front of the Honest Men without that quickness of play to move them around or get in behind.

Last week, Hearts went direct quickly and got the full-backs in dangerous positions high up the pitch. Neither Kingsely or Smith have been able to get down the sides, tracked by the Ayr wide men with space at a premium.

Neilson switched the side to a 4-2-3-1 with GMS and McEneff wide and Boyce in behind Gnanduillet but little has come off.

Irving set up Gnanduillet for a chance with an excellent pass, while GMS and McEneff combined to set up Halliday who has had a somewhat erratic outing.

Ayr have looked dangerous on the break. Popescu and Halkett have largely marshalled Moffat but the threat has been down the left with Patrick Reading supporting Tom Walsh and Cammy Smith moving wide.

HT: Hearts 0 - 0 Ayr

Hearts are now a more traditional 4-4-2. GMS has moved wide left and McEneff playing off the right.

Irving dropped a lovely ball over the Ayr defence who appealed in vain for offside as Gnanduillet ran through, The Frenchman’s fierce shot however was pushed wide by Sinisalo.

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