Maroon Memories: Return of Jankauskas is pivotal

Edgaras Jankauskas scored twice
Edgaras Jankauskas scored twice
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EDGARAS Jankauskas had previously been a generally reclusive character, consistently shying away from the public eye since his arrival in Scotland.

On this showing, though, the Lithuanian invited the glare upon himself as the catalyst for an impressive Hearts victory.

Jankauskas’ resumption of striking duties indisputably injected the home side with the required inspiration to banish their lethargic performance from the previous week, when they had conceded a one-goal advantage and lost to Aberdeen.

Two goals for the giant former Porto frontman in a 3-0 win over Motherwell depicted most of the story, but there was significantly more about his exertions on returning from injury.

Terry Butcher’s players could only hold out for three minutes before Jankauskas had their net bulging.

Supporters at Tynecastle had been yearning for an imposing and potent striker. His return, therefore, was greeted with much celebration.

Jankauskas dispatched the opener high beyond Colin Meldrum from six yards with only minutes gone after Czech midfielder Rudi Skacel’s shot had been stopped, but not held, by the goalkeeper.

The second on 14 minutes hinted at the possibility of a rout as Martyn Corrigan stuck out his heel to intercept a Deividas Cesnauskis cross from the right. He succeeded only in teeing the ball up for Jankauskas to hit a rising drive soaring into the same corner as the first.

Julien Brellier returned to the Hearts midfield after suspension and it can surely be no coincidence that Hearts’ buckling against Aberdeen the previous Saturday had occurred in the Frenchman’s absence.

Calmly he orchestrated things in midfield for Hearts beside Bruno Aguiar, the Portuguese replacement for the suspended Paul Hartley.

On 78 minutes, Takis Fyssas fed Skacel who instantly flicked the ball over the Motherwell defence in the direction of Calum Elliot. The 18-year-old was alert and swift in latching on to the ball before he lofted it over the advancing Meldrum to complete the victory.

Butcher left Edinburgh in frustration. His team hit the woodwork twice, the first, a Scott McDonald header in the opening seconds which would have seriously altered the complexion of the game thereafter had it gone in. A header from Stephen Craigan also came back off the junction of post and crossbar.

But for all Motherwell, a seriously talented and industrious side, their unquestionable ability was overshadowed by a seriously petulant attitude.

Striker Richie Foran was fortunate not to be ordered off as he fouled and angrily remonstrated his way through the entire afternoon.

Hearts: Gordon, Neilson, Fyssas, Pressley, Aguiar, Webster, Cesnauskis, Brellier, Jankauskas, Elliot, Skacel.