Hearts debrief: Ben Woodburn redemption, fortunate injury-time escape, 'fatherly' Craig Gordon

A look back at the 2-1 win over Ross County at an empty Tynecastle Park on Boxing Day.

By Craig Fowler
Monday, 27th December 2021, 7:00 am
Ben Woodburn fires Hearts into a 2-0 advantage with the aid of a deflection. Picture: SNS
Ben Woodburn fires Hearts into a 2-0 advantage with the aid of a deflection. Picture: SNS

Player of the match

Peter Haring had another really strong shift in the centre of the park, but let’s go for Ben Woodburn. The Liverpool loanee hasn’t had it all his own way since moving to Tynecastle in the summer transfer window and came in for criticism from the support following his performance at Dens Park last week, but this was much better from the attacker. Starting in the centre of the front three, his movement and touch were excellent and, while his goal was fortunate in taking a deflection, his performance deserved it.

Defining moment

Sign up to our Hearts newsletter

Let’s go for one of the most fortunate moments that will go Hearts’ way this season. Four minutes into injury-time, Jack Baldwin’s header across goal has Ross County players queuing up at the back post to equalise and ensure a 2-2 draw. In the end, there was one player too many poised to score as Joseph Hungbo couldn’t get out of the way of Connor Randall’s effort at the back post, inadvertently blocking the shot out for a by-kick.

Ref watch

David Munro was badly conned by Dominic Samuel in giving a first-half free-kick against John Souttar, among a few other early decisions which didn’t make a lot of sense, but he improved after that.

Benefit of hindsight

Armand Gnanduillet’s Hearts career seems to be coming to an end and this game was another example of that. Without a recognised striker, the towering forward still couldn’t get on the park. Although, while the Frenchman struggles for consistency, he can hold up play, something which Hearts badly needed in the closing 15 minutes as Ross County launched wave after wave of attack at the home goal.

Moment you may have missed

John Souttar and Taylor Moore got into a heated argument with each other near the end of the match about a missed defensive assignment at a set-piece. This has been reported on, but you may have missed Craig Gordon forcefully instructing both players to let it lie as the argument continued. The captain was like a father quelling a quarrel between two siblings.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.