Love of Hearts' support, Hibs man offers encouragement, memorable week in Linlithgow - the weekend's winners and losers

Craig Fowler takes a look around the Lothians to find who had a weekend to remember - and who had one they'd like to forget.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 5:01 pm
Updated Monday, 21st October 2019, 6:02 pm

WINNERS

Michael Smith (Hearts)

I've written enough about Smith's excellence since the conclusion of Sunday's match with Rangers at Tynecastle, so here's a Jambos Kickback poster summarising the general feeling among the support almost perfectly: "We go on about getting Whelan, Naismith, Berra etc etc but for me Smith had been brilliant since he signed. I ******* love the guy. Probably my favourite player just now."

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Hearts' Michael Smith charges away as Alfredo Morelos sits on the turf. Picture: SNS

Uche Ikpeazu (Hearts)

There was a moment late in Sunday's game where Nikola Katic was chasing a bouncing ball with Ikpeazu tearing towards him. The Croatian defender had suffered throughout the match with the hulking Hearts striker ragdolling him and his fellow Rangers team-mates. Put simply, he'd had enough. Instead of looking to get the ball under control, hold off Ikpeazu's attentions and knock it back to Allan McGregor, instead he lumped it straight out of the park. The home crowd reacted as if a goal had been scored. This was Ikpeazu at his dominating best and it's so fun to watch.

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Joe Newell (Hibs)

There's been a little backlash from some members of the Easter Road faithful to the praise Newell received for his performance against Hamilton Accies. Yes, it's true, it was hardly Kevin McAllister in his prime, but it was a significant step in the right direction for a summer signing who hadn't shown anywhere near enough prior to Saturday. The most encouraging aspect of his performance was Newell's willingness to get involved in the action. In many of his other appearances he's played on the periphery of the game, intimidated by the prospect of doing anything wrong. At the weekend he operated as a winger should and suggested there was more to come. That's enough to make him a winner.

Brown Ferguson (Linlithgow Rose)

It was a memorable seven days for new Linlithgow Rose boss Brown Ferguson. The ex-Stenhousemuir coach was named as the East of Scotland side's manager last Sunday and successfully steered them into the next round of the Scottish Cup with a 2-0 win over Stirling University in his first game in charge. They were then handed a further boost with a plum tie against Falkirk in the next round, a game which could well be picked up for live TV coverage.

George Hunter (Bonnyrigg Rose)

The Lowland League side were in front of the BT Sport cameras on Friday evening as they entertained Buckie Thistle in the cup. It wasn't the best of games for the viewing audience as Bonnyrigg won a rather scrappy encounter but Hunter certainly impressed in attack. The forward scored a rather nice goal and put himself about well throughout the 90 minutes.

LOSERS

Jake Mulraney (Hearts)

This could be for his performance as he was arguably the weakest senior player in maroon on Sunday, but instead he gets an inclusion for hobbling off injured towards the end of the game. Were this a normal club, Mulraney need not worry too much about what is surely just a knock. But because he plays for Hearts he'll probably need to have his leg amputated. God speed, Jake.

Florian Kamberi (Hibs)

Finding themselves pegged back by Hamilton Accies with 30 minutes remaining after leading earlier in the match, Hibs were in desperate need of a goal. On the bench sat their leading goalscorer from each of the past two seasons, and their current top scorer in all competitions this campaign, Florian Kamberi. And that's exactly what he did - sit. Eventually he was brought off the bench with little over 60 seconds left on the clock. Some would argue his manager, Paul Heckingbottom, deserves to be a "loser" for the way he's using the striker. But it surely must set off warning signs for Kamberi that he's lost the trust of his manager to such a degree.

Josh Vela (Hibs)

After impressing against Celtic and Aberdeen it was a return to earth for a player that's yet to convince Hibs supporters of his quality. He didn't do anything particularly bad - except going in half-heartedly into a 50-50 in the lead up to Accies' penalty - but he didn't do anything particularly good either. The game passed him by and not for the first time. When Hibs announced his signing this summer, this writer logged on to Wyscout and had a good look at the 25-year-old in action for Bolton. He seemed to be an all-action, energetic midfielder with enthusiasm for running box to box. When's that player going to emerge?

Spartans FC

Spartans are typically viewed as a potential upset for lower league teams in the Scottish Cup and the hosts must've fancied their chances as Queen's Park came to Edinburgh on Saturday. The Spiders had lost four of their last five matches in League Two, drawing the other, but dispatched the Lowland League side with relative ease as goals from Alfredo Agyeman and David Galt in the space of two first-half minutes settled the tie.