Hearts debrief: Henderson's action-packed appearance, unjust red card, key early strike

At look back at Hearts beating Raith Rovers 4-0 on the final day of the Scottish Championship season

By Craig Fowler
Saturday, 1st May 2021, 8:00 am
Raith Rovers defender Iain Davidson is shown a red card after being harshly penalised for giving away a penalty. Picture: SNS
Raith Rovers defender Iain Davidson is shown a red card after being harshly penalised for giving away a penalty. Picture: SNS

Player of the match

Gary Mackay-Steven got the BBC Scotland award for his two goals, but we’re going to go with young Euan Henderson He sometimes got caught with his back to goal, but he was involved constantly in the attack through his 65-plus minutes on the park, including scoring the all-important second goal and winning the penalty which saw Raith reduced to ten men.

Defining moment

It was only 12 minutes in, but the first goal did feel like it had an outsized influence on the game. Raith were up and at Hearts from the off and caught them in possession a few times in the visitors’ own half. Ultimately they were undone by two excellent pieces of play: the run from Mackay-Steven and Michael Smith finding him with a perfectly weighted direct pass. After that, Hearts were in full control of the match and Raith rarely looked like much trouble.

Ref watch

David Munro had a great spot in the first half when all of the Hearts players were screaming for a penalty but, as replays showed, it had actually struck the boot of Hibs loanee Jamie Gullan as he performed a kung-fu style clearance. However, he blotted his copybook later in the game with the decision to send off Iain Davidson for a professional foul on Euan Henderson. In fairness, on first glance it looked a stonewall penalty, but the decision to brandish a straight red when the defender had made a genuine attempt to get the ball was a curious one.

Benefit of hindsight

This one belongs to the hosts who decided to change up their system to go at Hearts man-for-man. A three-at-the-back is not something Raith have dabbled with a lot this season. Then again, they didn’t look much better in the second period while back in a 4-4-2, though they were a goal down and chasing the game.

Moment you may have missed

Davidson was not happy with the decision to send him off at all. He loudly stated that it was a “f******* joke” over and over again as he left the field.

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.