Hearts 1 Inverness 0
“Good football is nothing, nice football is nothing, success is the key”, said Csaba Laszlo in Friday’s pre-match press conference, and that pretty much sums up the ninety minutes. In fact, they could easily be mistaken for words spoken after the match.
A seventh minute goal perhaps suggested that Hearts would go on to win the match comfortably but a sparse second period performance allowed Inverness to dominate the half, without taking advantage.
It was Miko who provided the goal when he raced onto Audrius Ksanavicius’ through ball after Caley captain Grant Munro failed to get his head on a long punt from Kello.
Hearts had their Slovakian goalkeeper to thank for a commanding performance, which ensured a first clean sheet for the team in the league this season.
He was exceptionally quick of his line for two of Caley’s chances in the first half – one to block a shot from Phil McGuire, the other to take the ball from the feet of Andy Barrowman – to clean up the occasional lapse from his back four.
A save from a low McBain effort after he found himself free in the box wrapped up an impressive performance from Kello, who looks as if he could turn out to be a real capture for Csaba.
The team defended well on the whole, although Wallace still seems the weak link at left back. Ruben Palazuelos was brought on for Miko towards the end of the match to offer the Scotland under-21 international more protection.
However, the main problem was the team’s inability to retain possession during the second half, which allowed Inverness to pile on the pressure. Not only were we second to every ball, the forwards were unable to hold the ball up for any period of time.
Hopefully Tullberg will be the man to help solve this problem.
Mole lacks the ability to score enough goals and there will come a point where hard work just isn’t good enough. As for Ksanavicius, his first touch was horrendous and most of the time his second touch was a sliding tackle.
Even Nade, when he came on, didn’t make much of a contribution.
Another Scotland call-up may beckon for Mikey Stewart if he continues this early season form and he was once again one of the stand out performers. He was terribly unlucky when he attempted to lob Fraser with a first half volley and pulled the strings in midfield for the first half.
Miko was another who I was really impressed with this week. He took his goal well and looked the most likely to create more. An extended run in the team could finally see him hit the form we have been waiting for and I would be happy to see him and Driver, when he is fit, lining up on either wing.
But the best man on the park, in a Hearts jersey at least, was Kello. If it wasn’t for him we could have easily been 1-0 down early in the match and, on our overall performance, I’m not convinced we would have recovered. He commanded his area well and caught everything that came near him. He even came ten yards off his line in the last few minutes to catch an Inverness throw.
Many were critical that Kello was just another Kaunas dud and that Banks was a safer option but he is slowly proving himself to be a solid keeper.
In the post-match interview, Csaba claimed that if your team wins every match 1-0 then everyone is happy. Even though I am happy we have extended our 100% home record, I’m not sure if I could bear watching a performance like that every week.