Maroon Memories: Unpaid Hearts rout Pars

Rudi Skacel heads in the fourth goal in the second minute of stoppage time
Rudi Skacel heads in the fourth goal in the second minute of stoppage time
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Although they hadn’t been paid for three months, Hearts still produced the goods to floor basement club Dunfermline and lift some of the gloom which had descended on Tynecastle in recent times.

This was just their second win in a period of eight games since their payment troubles had begun, with the players submitting an official complaint to the SPL on the day before this match.

The win for Hearts, who had been put up for sale by owner Vladimir Romanov, consolidated fifth place in the table.

The Jambos had performed admirably in a 1-0 defeat at title-chasing Celtic the weekend before, but manager Paulo Sergio expressed doubt whether his troops could rise to the occasion against the Pars amid the turmoil.

After three minutes, the concerns of Portuguese boss Sergio, who was serving the final game of a five-match touchline ban, were allayed as Hearts went ahead.

Midfielder Ian Black’s corner found Aussie Ryan McGowan, who scuffed his attempt on goal, however striker Stephen Elliott was there to turn the ball in, with the visiting defence leaving the Irishman unmarked.

Dunfermline had chances to respond swiftly, but Andy Barrowman, Paul Willis, Alex Keddie and David Graham all failed to test home keeper Marian Kello.

The Jambos were finding their rhythm and David Templeton forced Paul Gallacher into a smart save before winger Mehdi Taouil curled an effort narrowly over.

With Dunfermline now camped back and allowing the home side to come at them, Taouil hit another shot from the edge of the area less cleanly, but the right-footed effort was good enough to double Hearts’ lead.

Barrowman then headed over from a corner before defender Marius Zaliukas missed a free header and the chance to put his side further ahead at the interval.

Kello then saved well from Liam Buchanan, turning the Pars striker’s header around the post for a corner before Hearts came close again.

Taouil dispossessed Martin Hardie in midfield before feeding Elliott, who shot into the side-netting.

Hearts were cranking up the pressure on the visiting goal and keeper Gallacher twice had to deny youngster Templeton.

After Andy Webster was booked for protesting that he had been brought down in the visitors’ box, a third goal arrived, with Templeton’s persistence rewarded.

The winger waltzed around the Pars defence to find an opening before curling a right-footed shot inside the post for his first goal of the year.

Keddie headed over from a corner before Rudi Skacel fired wide from fellow substitute Arvydas Novikovas’ cross at the other end.

Substitute Ryan Stevenson’s shot was parried by Gallacher and Skacel headed in the rebound in the second minute of stoppage time to complete the rout.

Hearts: Kello, Hamill, McGowan, Webster, Mrowiec, Zaliukas, Black, Taouil, Elliott, Robinson, Templeton.