Hearts debrief: Towering Gnanduillet, Gordon fetching Romanov, Boyce reaction

A look back at Hearts’ 2-0 win over Ayr United which sent Robbie Neilson’s men 15 points clear at the top of the Championship.

Hearts defeated Ayr United 2-0. Picture: SNS
Hearts defeated Ayr United 2-0. Picture: SNS

Player of the match

There were a few good displays, Michael Smith and Andy Irving to name two. But it had to be Armand Gnanduillet. Not everything he tried came off but he showed how much of an asset he will be to Hearts. That target to hit when under pressure, an aerial presence and a willingness to run in behind. There are not many strikers who will be such a problem for opposition in the air, due to his size and power.

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Defining moment

Which leads on to his goal. A towering totem, there was no competing with him when Irving sent in that cross. The Frenchman wants crosses and has shown what he can produce with the right service.

Ref watch

Colin Steven. He was there, he refereed. Hearts may well have been awarded a penalty in the first half but overall, a fine outing for the official.

Benefit of hindsight

It was his 200th outing for Hearts but Craig Gordon could well have nipped over the advertising hoardings, nabbed the Vladimir Romanov cardboard cutout and popped him between the sticks and taken the day off. It wouldn’t have even needed to be a diversion like the Michael Jordan cardboard cutout in Home Alone. After so many impressive saves this campaign, Ayr United never really looked like troubling the No.1. Gordon could have spent the day working out how long he will need to play for to reach the 300 milestone at Tynecastle.

Moment you may have missed

To some fans, Liam Boyce doesn’t seem contented with the way he carries himself on the pitch. In reality, the striker is just like many other players who appear to perform without emotion being displayed on the outside but inside it couldn’t be further from the truth. Take Gervane Kastaneer’s chance to make it 3-0. The winger’s shot was repelled by the impressive Viljami Sinisalo and was met by a scream of anguish from Boyce, annoyed he had not been played in to score. He followed it up by thumping the advertising hoarding. This is a player who wants to score and win.

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Robbie Neilson outlines what Hearts must do better as Ayr win takes them nearer ...