Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale striker James Hainey hopes his devastating derby double can act as a springboard to a more fruitful 2019.
Hainey netted twice after a goalless opening period in a 3-0 win to secure the bragging rights at the home of their rivals, Tynecastle.
This season has been a struggle so far for both clubs who sit at the wrong end of East of Scotland Conference B, but Hainey hopes victory will give his team-mates the confidence to start climbing the table.
“It was good, a good win for the boys. It’s been a pretty slow start to the season for us so it was good to get a win just after the new year,” said Hainey.
“Last season I was out for a while with injuries so it was a bit stop-start and it’s been the same again this season.
“It has a given us a bit of a lift. Hopefully we can kick on from this and keep it going.”
Hainey’s first strike was the pick of the bunch – his stunner from 25 yards leaving Tynecastle goalkeeper Robert Watt helpless.
Hainey joked: “I just caught it sweet, the goalie was waving to his mum and dad. The second one it just landed on a plate for me.”
The striker was denied a hat-trick as he was substituted with 15 minutes remaining and Lothian manager Raymond Carr revealed strike partner Sean Wringe had a big say in that.
He said: “James took his goals really well. He was looking to hopefully get a hat-trick but after I took Sean off, who is just back from injury, Sean had said ‘Raymie, there is just 15 minutes to go, go and take him off before he gets a hat-trick’ – it’s just typical strikers. The lad has got that in his locker and he has to start producing it more.
“I thought we started off really well. Tynecastle made a game of it in the first half and there was nothing really created by either team.
“We had words with them when they came in at half-time and we got the breaks. Sometimes you need a bit of luck and once we got the first one our tails were up and we put pressure on them to get a second then a third.
“I’m really pleased with how it is going just now and long may it continue, but it is going to be a hard battle for ourselves and Tynecastle considering budgets.”
Lothian midfielder Dylan Moore must have thought he had put the visitors in front after just six minutes. His header from Kevin Brown’s corner had Watt beaten only to be denied as the ball struck the post.
Tynecastle striker Malcolm Burgess had the hosts’ best chance of the first half following a good run and cross from left-back Ewan Greig, but he shot wide off balance.
Burgess had a penalty appeal waved away early in the second half, and a minute later Lothian were celebrating their opener as Hainey struck from the edge of the box.
It was two after 64 minutes with Connor McGregor’s clearance turning into the perfect assist for Hainey – his punt putting the striker clean through and he slid the ball under Watt.
Moore wrapped up all three points when he headed in Jamie Docherty’s corner-kick.
Tynecastle boss Calum Elliot had no complaints over the final result. He said: “I think over the course of the game, the better team won. All we can do is learn from it and dust ourselves off, and train properly this week.
“We need to be showing a lot more bravery when we have the ball. It’s possibly the reason why we are where we are, whether it’s the belief or whatever to win these games. It is something we will have to look at it. It is clear to me what needs to be done.”
Tynecastle FC: Watt, Kelly (MacDonald), Greig, Ferguson, Leslie, Ramsay, Helm, Elliot (Stokes), Burgess, Smith (Johnston), Hendry
Lothian Thistle: Swain, Crawford, O’Donnell, McGregor, Munro, Muir, Brown (Hutchison), Moore, Wringe (Smith), Hainey (Dukuary), Docherty