Hearts debrief: Imperious Halkett, why Neilson was right to be unhappy, Gnanduillet impact
A look back at the 2-1 win for Hearts at St Mirren to put the Jam Tarts top of the cinch Premiership.
Player of the match
Hearts look like they will be a difficult team to break down. The back three – and sometimes five – are good defenders. John Souttar was imperious again but Craig Halkett has reached a new level since the move to a back three. It is a position he excelled in at Livingston. His previous appearances at St Mirren saw him suffer an injury and lose 1-0. He was key in helping the Jam Tarts reach the top of the league. He marshalled Eamonn Brophy’s runs during the time the striker was on the pitch. But he really came to the fore in the closing stages, winning headers, being perfectly placed and clearing the ball. It was reminiscent of his time at Livi.
Hearts had built into the game well and were dominating possession, making St Mirren do a lot of chasing. The opening goal arrived from that patient play. Beni Beningime found Liam Boyce and the Northern Irishman, the team's best creator as well as goal scorer, set up Andy Halliday for a delicate finishing past Jak Alnwick. it gave Hearts something to build on and protect.
Robbie Neilson wasn’t happy with Gavin Duncan and you can understand the Hearts manager’s frustration. Twice Gary Mackay-Steven was on the end of robust challenges. An early elbow was missed then in the second half he was caught by Charles Dunne. Despite being in considerable pain, Duncan was too busy lecturing Hearts players rather than allowing the physio on to treat the winger who was clearly in pain.
Benefit of hindsight
Armand Gnanduillet, during the half-time interval, did his own thing, not taking part in piggy in the middle with the rest of the subs. But warming up, training, is much different from producing when it matters. The Frenchman was excellent off the bench and had a hugely positive impact.
Moment you may have missed
John Souttar is the leader of this Hearts defence. Cajoling, encouraging and demanding. He constantly led the back three up the pitch, communicating with team-mates. An impressive individual.