Hearts debrief: Customary excellence from Baningime, Scotland's No.1 showing his worth again, some interesting refereeing

A look back at yesterday’s match at Tynecastle

Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 7:00 am
Beni Baningime battles Motherwell's Mark O'Hara for the ball during Hearts' 2-0 victory at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

Player of the match

A tough one with several Hearts players excelling but nobody really standing out above the rest. The back three and goalkeeper Craig Gordon all had strong games, as did three/fourths of the midfield with left wing-back Alex Cochrane, who was decent but quiet in comparison, the outlier. The nod should go to one of Cammy Devlin, Michael Smith and Beni Baningime. All three played with tremendous energy and poise on the football. In a tight contest, we’ll go for Baningime, who is making great performances look easy.

Defining moment

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Things could have been very different in the second half had Kaiyne Woolery been able to get the better of Gordon seconds after Liam Boyce had missed a penalty to put Hearts three goals in front. Thankfully, Scotland’s No.1 was on hand to do what he does best.

Ref watch

Awful. Maybe the worst performance of the season Hearts have witnessed so far. David Munro continuously made bad calls for each side, had no consistency in terms of when and when not to card players, and struggled with the bigger decisions. Devlin’s penalty, which Boyce missed, looked pretty weak, but it doesn’t excuse the whistler ignoring Liam Kelly’s clear advancement off the line to save the spot kick.

Benefit of hindsight

Hard to be critical at all about the manager following this victory. The substitute of Peter Haring for Barrie McKay for the final 10 minutes, plus five in injury-time, was a great decision as the Austrian put in an excellent cameo, showing his experience and cunning to win a few fouls, make a few tackles and stem the flow when Motherwell were pushing for a goal to get back into things. However, the same can’t be said for Gary Mackay-Steven’s introduction. The winger was poor after coming on and it may have been better to bring on Josh Ginnelly, Aaron McEneff or Armand Gnanduillet instead.

Moment you may have missed

Devlin and Callum Slattery indulged in some back and forth with each other following the penalty, with the two needing to be separating, so it was only a time before something happened in play as Slattery was lucky to avoid a booking to taking down the Australian in front of the Wheatfield Stand.

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