Game of two halves
Hearts were in full control before the break, playing on the front foot from the outset, dominating play impressively and completely nullifying Thistle. It looked like they were cruising towards Hampden. But Thistle summoned an improvement after the break and ultimately punished Hearts for lacking the ruthlessness required to add the second goal that their play for long periods of the night had merited. Once the hosts had levelled, the visitors were unable to properly reassert themselves.
Hearts’ set-play repertoire has been one of the most fascinating aspects of their play this season and they conjured up another impressive routine for their goal, with Olly Bozanic playing the ball to Ben Garuccio who volleyed the ball in for Christophe Berra to head home. It was another fine piece of training-ground invention coming to fruition on a match-day. Hearts, with Austin MacPhee the architect, have become so renowned for their play from dead-balls that it is now a disappointment whenever they don’t try and inject any ingenuity into their set-pieces.
Uche impresses again
“Uche, Uche, Uche” was the chant throughout the first half as Ikpeazu ragdolled the Thistle defence. The Englishman was unplayable in the first half and was unfortunate not to get his first goal since returning from long-term injury after the winter break. He wasn’t quite as effective after the break but still managed to head against the bar and should have won a penalty as he continued to put in a tireless display. Coming on the back of his impressive performance against Celtic, the bustling striker looks like he’s getting back to his pre-injury best.