Hearts debrief: Gordon the Rescuer, Neilson's ref complaints, 4-4-2
A look back at the stalemate between Hearts and Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park.
Player of the match
Craig Gordon. Once again the Scotland goalkeeper produced a save which secured Hearts a point. There was an early save to deny Kevin O’Hara but it was the one late on, getting down sharply with his left foot to repel Euan Murray’s powerful header. It was the brilliant reactions Hearts fans have come to expect from their goalkeeper. On top of that, he was constantly communicating while he relieved pressure with his assuredness with high balls. A number of fans queried where the team would be without him. In all honesty, the title race would be a heck of a lot closer.
In the first quarter of the match Scott Banks was sent clean through by Declan McManus. He burst between Craig Halkett and Aidy White but under pressure from the latter he shot wide of the far post. It was the last thing Hearts would have wanted, the concession of an early goal and being right up against it once more. Score that and Dunfermline would have likely been even more difficult to break down.
Robbie Neilson was unhappy with referee Colin Steven for his failure to award a penalty for some of Dunfermline’s defensive tactics at set pieces. Lithuanian centre-back Vytas Gašpuitis had moments where he seemed more interested in the Hearts attacker than the ball. In other aspects of the game, Steven seemed a stickler in moments than laid back in others.
Benefit of hindsight
In terms of personnel. Armand Gnanduillet proved to be an awkward opponent for the Pars defence. It would have been interesting to see Hearts match Dunfermline’s 4-4-2. In game, McEneff took on a shot in the first half when he would perhaps have been better laying in Shay Logan for a chance for a goal on his debut.
Moment you may have missed
In the build up to the game, Neilson talked about the need for a more vocal team. He certainly got that, on and off the pitch. Andy Halliday, sat in the away end, was kicking every ball. Steven Naismith on the sidelines was urging his team-mates to get forward. Craig Gordon and Peter Haring spoke right through the match.