Three things learned from Hearts 2-2 Hamilton

Analysis from Tynecastle Park as Hearts and Hamilton Academical draw 2-2

Saturday, 31st August 2019, 5:06 pm
George Oakley's prodded finish gives Hamilton their first goal at Tynecastle

Hearts' defensive lapses so costly again

Both Hamilton goals were poorly defended by Hearts and that remains a source of concern for management and coaches. After last week's tame defending in the 3-1 defeat at Celtic Park, it is a matter which needs attention. Hamilton claimed their first equaliser when the persistent George Oakley chased a lost cause as a long ball bounced towards the hosts' penalty area. The striker managed to unsettle both Christophe Berra and Aidy White as the two Hearts defenders failed to clear. Oakley then nipped in to prod a low finish past Colin Doyle. He then hit a sweet first-time shot after Lewis Smith cut inside from the right flank to level the scoreline at 2-2. Again, there was little challenge to Hamilton's build-up down the right flank and Hearts were left cursing their own poor concentration. Prior to Oaklay's second, Marios Ogkmpoe had rattled the crossbar after the Tynecastle goalkeeper Colin Doyle's vital save from Blair Alston.

Sean Clare thrived in No.10 role

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The Englishman scored and impressed during the first 30 minutes of the game when he was played centrally in an attacking midfield role in behind Hearts striker Conor Washington. He showed good awareness of others around him and made an intelligent run which led to his goal on 20 minutes. Craig Halkett's driving run and slipped pass presented Clare with the opportunity to open the scoring and he looked perhaps the game's most influential player at that point. When Ryotaro Meshino entered the fray ten minutes later, Clare was shunted out wide left and became more marginalised. Meshino looked very energetic and is used to the No.10 role so will probably find himself there more than Clare over the coming months. However, those wondering about Clare's best position would have noted how well he performed for half an hour in the hole.

Tynecastle Pitch

One positive for Hearts fans on an exasperating day was the pitch. The playing surface looked back to its resplendent best following some surface damage caused prior to Hearts' previous home game. The pitch appeared worse for wear against Ross County due to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra's performance to open the Edinburgh International Festival three weeks previously. That drew plenty criticism given Hearts spent almost £1million on a new state-of-the-art hybrid surface just over 12 months ago. The damage proved to be minimal in the end and amounted to little more than some discoloured grass and a few bumps here and there. The repair work has been completed quickly and the pitch looked excellent against Hamilton. It would have been a welcome sight for supporters who were worried about any lasting damage caused by the aforementioned concert.