Hearts debrief: The 21-0 stat v Raith, Gnanduillet's defining moment, Walker back on song
The 21-0 count in the visitors’ favour reflected a ridiculously one-sided affair, which made the 3-2 defeat to the same opposition at Tynecastle only three days earlier all the more baffling. Here is a look back at some of the key highlights from the game:
Player of the match
It’s fair to say that Jamie Walker hasn’t quite lived up to his first spell at Hearts since returning to the club. It’s also fair to say that may be partly down to injury, the forward having suffered a broken leg shortly after rejoining, on top of a few other niggles. However, his all-action performance in the 4-0 win over Raith was Walker back at his best – drifting between defenders and making runs in behind. Bring that A-game on a consistent basis, and he will make the no.10 role his own.
The first goal was important, while the red card for Regan Hendry also ensured no way back for Raith, not that the Kirkcaldy side displayed any signs of mounting a comeback up until that point. But this game will be remembered for the introduction of Armand Gnanduillet. The substitute’s last-minute header – his second and the goal which crowned the 4-0 win – inscribed the 28-year-old Frenchman into Hearts history as the first player to score a double from the bench on his debut.
Euan Anderson had one big call to make – and got it right. He showed leniency to Raith’s Brad Spencer in the first minute for a dangerous tackle on Halliday, but the red card was brandished five minutes before half-time when Hendry planted his studs into Halliday as the pair tussled in the aftermath of a challenge.
Benefit of hindsight
Whatever Robbie Neilson said or did before the match at Stark's Park, he will be wishing he’d done before the trips to Dundee and Dunfermline. Hearts lost both those fixtures having been, in the main, outfought by the opposition. But on Tuesday night, Hearts showed that they have the fight to match the quality in their squad with their most complete performance of the season.