Hearts 1-0 Saints
25th November 2023
A second half goal from Lawrence Shankland saw Saints slip to a 1-0 defeat to Hearts in Gorgie this afternoon.
After a goalless first half, the only goal of the game came just after the hour mark as Shankland deflected a Liam Boyce effort beyond Dimitar Mitov to ensure the points remained in Edinburgh.
Next up for Saints is a home game against Celtic next Sunday, kick off 12pm.
Saints returned to action this afternoon following last weekend’s international break as they headed to the capital to take on Hearts at Tynecastle Park. Saints defeated Ross County 1-0 before the international break and Craig Levein made three changes to his starting eleven for this afternoons match in Gorgie. Dara Costelloe, Max Kucheriavyi and Stevie May came into the starting eleven to replace James Brown, Graham Carey and Nicky Clark who all missed out completely. Hearts defeated Motherwell 2-1 at Fir Park prior to the international break and Head Coach Steven Naismith made one change to his starting eleven this afternoon as Jorge Grant came in to replace Calem Nieuwenhof who dropped to the bench.
Matt Smith got the match underway for Saints however, it was the hosts who started brightly as on 3 minutes they were awarded a free kick in a promising position following a foul on Liam Boyce by Smith. Alex Cochrane took the free kick as he sent over an inviting cross which Kye Rowles got on the end of however, his header went wide of the target.
A good flowing move by the Jambos a minute later saw Alex Lowry release Cochrane down the left and the midfielder then cut inside before playing the ball to Jorge Grant. The midfielder played a neat backheel to Lawrence Shankland and the Scotland internationalist laid the ball back to Cochrane, who had continued his run forward, however, his strike from just outside the box was brilliantly saved by Dimitar Mitov.
Mitov was called into action again on 7 minutes as Lowry’s corner was met by Boyce at the back post but Mitov got down well to turn the ball behind for another corner.
PHOTO: Alan Forrest loses out to Stevie May and Luke Robinson
Hearts continued to look dangerous going forward and on 11 minutes Alan Forrest played the ball forward to Stephen Kingsley who slipped in Boyce however, his strike hit the side netting.
On 24 minutes goof play by Smith saw him get away from Cochrane on the right and the midfielder cut inside before crossing a dangerous ball into the box which broke to Luke Robinson however, his strike was saved by Zander Clark. The loose ball then broke to Dara Costelloe however, his effort was blocked by Beni Baningime as Hearts cleared the danger.
PHOTO: Saints manager Craig Levein talks with his assistant Andy Kirk
Saints were growing into the game and on 29 minutes Chris Kane picked out Smith on the edge of the box and the Welsh midfielder took a touch before seeing his right-footed effort hit the side netting.
Saints made a change before the second half got underway as Tony Gallacher came on to replace Andy Considine.
On 49 minutes Clark was called into action as he tipped a Smith cross over for a corner as the ball looked like it was going to sneak in at the top corner. Saints made a good start to the second half and on 56 minutes May cut the ball back to Max Kucheriavyi and the Ukrainian took a touch before unleashing a left-footed effort which was saved by Clark.
PHOTO: Chris Kane and Alex Cochrane
The break through finally came just after the hour mark as Hearts took the lead. A cross in from the left by Cochrane found Boyce whose strike took a deflection off Shankland to take the ball beyond Mitov.
Hearts went in search of a second on 68 minutes as substitute Calem Nieuwenhof played in Boyce who took a touch before firing narrowly over.
The Tynecastle side created another chance shortly after as substitute Yutaro Oda was played in by Baningime as the Japanese forward fired over.
On 72 minutes May gathered the ball on the byline before sending over a cross into the box which Costelloe was inches away from making a connection with at the back post. The Perth side created another chance 5 minutes later as Kane saw his effort deflected behind for a corner by Rowles.
PHOTO: Dara Costelloe is fouled by Beni Baningime and Kye Rowles
With 9 minutes remaining Nieuwenhof and Grant combined to play in Boyce however his effort was deflected behind for a corner by Liam Gordon.
Saints then made their second change of the game on 83 minutes as Luke Jephcott came on to replace Chris Kane.
Hearts were looking dangerous on their next attack on 85 minutes as substitute Kenneth Vargas slide in Shankland however, Luke Robinson got back to make a last-ditch tackle to deny the Scotland internationalist.
Saints third change of the game came on 86 minutes as Stevie May made way for Diallang Jaiyesimi.
Saints continued to push Hearts all the way until the final whistle however, the Hearts defence stood firm as they saw the game out to secure the points.
Hearts: Clark, Kent, Kingsley, Baningime, Grant (Devlin 81’), Shankland, Boyce (Vargas 81’), Rowles, Forrest (Oda 59’), Cochrane, Lowry (Nieuwenhof 68’)
Unused Substitutes: McGovern (GK), Haring, Sibbick, Denholm, Tagawa
Booked: Cochrane, Vargas
Scorer: Shankland (61’)
Saints: Mitov, Considine (Gallacher 45’), McGowan, Gordon, May (Jaiyesimi 86’), Kane (Jephcott 83’), Kucheriavyi, Robinson, Smith, Phillips, Costelloe
Unused Substitutes: Richards (GK), Olufunwa, Sprangler, Ballantyne, Turner-Cooke, Franczak
Booked: Phillips, Gallacher
Referee: John Beaton
VAR: Gavin Duncan
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Matt Smith is fouled by Alex Cochrane