Hearts 2-0 Motherwell: Half-time report from Tynecastle Park

Hearts are leading Motherwell 2-0 at the break as Robbie Neilson’s men bare down on the summit of the cinch Premiership table.

Liam Boyce opened the scoring early from the penalty spot before Stephen Kingsley netted a terrific free-kick to extend the advantage.

How have Hearts played?

Despite gaining a two-goal advantage, Hearts struggled a little in the first 30 minutes – at the very least they were below the standard of recent performances. It was difficult, especially in the early going, to establish dominance of possession with Motherwell’s industrious midfield three, not to mention the pressing from their front line, often forcing the hosts backwards. This eased a little after the second goal with the visitors’ spirits drained a little as the home side knocked it around with increasing comfort.

How have Motherwell played?

While they’ve battled hard in midfield and been relatively stubborn in defence, Graham Alexander’s men haven’t shown much in attack. Key front men Tony Watt and Kevin van Veen have been kept quiet by the Hearts rearguard. The latter did threaten to break through around the 35-minute mark, but he was stopped in his tracks by a superb tackle from Craig Halkett. Also, it’s easy to see that Motherwell have committed the second most fouls in the league so far this season with two away players booked in the half.

What to look out for

With Motherwell having to get increasingly desperate in the hunt for a goal to get themselves back into things, there will be plenty of gaps to expose on the counter attack. Josh Ginnelly should therefore be an interesting option from the bench as the winger’s speed and goal threat make him an ideal candidates to step into the fray.

Did you know?

Boyce’s penalty means the striker now has ten goals already for the season, even though we’re only in early October. Hearts haven’t had a 20-goal scorer since John Robertson way back in

Motherwell midfielder Callum Slattery has both won and committed the most fouls in the league.

Half-time ratings

Gordon 6; Moore 7, Halkett 8, Kingsley 9; Smith 7, Devlin 8, Baningime 8, Cochrane 7; McKay 8, Boyce 8, Woodburn 7.