Story of Hearts 1-1 Dundee: Jambos go top of the Premiership as Jason Cummings strikes back while fans taunt Leigh Griffiths

Hearts extended their unbeaten run to ten league matches but were held to a 1-1 draw by Dundee at Tynecastle Park.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 5:14 pm
Hearts players celebrate John Souttar's goal against Dundee.

John Souttar’s exquisite first-half strike opened the scoring before the visiting substitute Jason Cummings headed a late equaliser.

The result propelled Hearts top of the Premiership on goal difference ahead of Rangers’ match at St Mirren on Sunday, however they lost the division’s leading goalscorer, Liam Boyce, to injury.

He limped off during the second half and will be assessed ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Perth to take on St Johnstone. Although the home side enjoyed the majority of possession across the 90 minutes, they failed to kill the game and paid the price late on when Cummings struck.

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There was plenty intrigue surrounding this fixture after Dundee’s infamous email vote consigned Hearts to an enforced relegation last summer when the Covid pandemic struck. This was the first time both sets of fans had been inside the same ground since, so an intense atmosphere was always likely.

With manager Robbie Neilson seated in the press box serving the first of a three-match touchline ban, it was left to assistants Lee McCulloch and Gordon Forrest to instruct from the technical area.

The first half evolved into a competitive affair with maroon the dominant colour, however Dundee defended diligently against a series of cross balls into their penalty area. One escaped them on 24 minutes as Liam Boyce headed Michael Smith’s corner against the crossbar.

Hearts were working the ball into wide areas consistently without many telling deliveries thereafter. It was no real surprise that they opened the scoring with a shot from a central area.

Following fine work by Boyce on the edge of the Dundee box, Ben Woodburn’s lay-off allowed Souttar to curl a beautiful finish high into the top corner past the flailing dive of Adam Legzdins. It was an good time to break the deadlock eight minutes from the interval.

The decibel level rose inside Tynecastle as home supporters celebrated their team’s advantage whilst continuing to mercilessly taunt Dundee’s on-loan Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths. He was cleared by police in July over allegations of sending inappropriate messages to an underage girl.

Lee Ashcroft’s sliding challenge prevented Boyce doubling Hearts’ lead shortly after half-time and the notion was that a second home goal would end this game as a contest. Boyce limped from the field shortly after in what was a concerning sight for Neilson and his coaching staff.

Michael Smith advanced for the umpteenth time just after the hour mark for a shot which Legzdins beat away. The rebound fell to substitute Gary Mackay-Steven, who lashed it against the post.

Dundee’s attacking forays were intermittent as they toiled for impact up front. An overhead attempt from Griffiths bounced wide before the forward was substituted. His replacement, Cillian Sheridan, made an immediate difference and stung Craig Gordon’s palms with an 80th-minute volley.

There was no obvious nervousness about Hearts entering the final ten minutes but, if they got comfortable, Dundee sensed it and pounced. When Cammy Kerr launched a long throw from the right towards Gordon’s six-yard box, Cummings was on the move to execute a delicate head flick beyond the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

That prompted wild celebrations from travelling supporters in the Roseburn Stand, many of whom broke through a segregation barrier and had to be pushed back by stewards.

Hearts (3-4-3): Gordon; Souttar, Halkett, Kingsley; M Smith, Devlin, Baningime, Cochrane; McKay (Ginnelly 77), Boyce (Gnanduillet 60), Woodburn (Mackay-Steven 46).

Dundee (4-3-3): Legzdins; Kerr, Ashcroft, Sweeney, Marshall; McGhee, Adam, Anderson; McMullan (Cummings 62), Griffiths (Sheridan 69), McCowan (Mullen 56).

Referee: Gavin Duncan.

Attendance: 17,677.

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