Three things we learned from Hearts' triumph over Aberdeen
Here are three Hearts-related observations from the Betfred Cup quarter-final victory over Aberdeen.
Uche back in business
After a difficult start to the season when he clearly wasn’t fully fit and up to speed, Uche Ikpeazu looks like he’s getting back to the form that helped illuminate Tynecastle in the early months of last season. Having shown flickers of promise against Motherwell and then heavily influenced Sunday’s Edinburgh derby, the Englishman produced his best display of the season against the Dons and was unfortunate not to score with a terrific first-minute strike.
Whelan a Rolls-Royce
What a player Hearts have on their hands in Glenn Whelan. After his authoratitive display in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby, the 35-year-old Irishman produced another excellent performance at the base of Hearts’ midfield. The veteran passed the ball with purpose and was key to ensuring his team maintained a high tempo, leading by example and cajoling his team-mates throughout. Was still going strong in extra-time and took his penalty well in the shootout.
More like it from Hearts
The early-season gloom has lifted around Tynecastle after Hearts followed up their derby win with their best display of the season against the Dons to book a return to Hampden. It was notable that even when trailing 2-1 and staring at elimination from the Betfred Cup, the Hearts support, unlike in previous matches, declined to get involved in any anti-Craig Levein chants and stuck with their team to the very end. If Hearts can play with similar intensity in the weeks and months ahead, the negativity which has engulfed the club this summer should disappear.