Saturday, 30 January 2010

St. Johnstone v Heart of Midlothian - Scottish Premier League

Saturday 30th January 2010. Scottish Premier League
at McDiarmid Park, Perth

St. Johnstone (0) 1 (Deuchar 17)
Heart of Midlothian (0) 0

Admission £20. Programme £2.50. Attendance 4752.
Such was the sudden nature of Jim Jefferies (re)appointment as Hearts manager yesterday, the first time he will have met most of his players would have been at his pre match team talk today. By the end of 90 minutes here at McDiarmid Park, he had been given a crash course into his new teams strengths and weaknesses, with the emphasis on their weaknesses.
Take nothing away from St. Johnstone, they wanted it more and ran out worthy winners, but Hearts were dire today, in extremes.
You would have thought they would have wanted to make a good impression on their new boss, but that simply wasn't the case.
I don't know if David Obua is in possession of ESP powers, but the message he seemed to be sending out was; "Look at me, I really should be somewhere else, absolutely anywhere else actually"
Might I be so bold as to suggest that in the back of a taxi speeding towards Edinburgh Airport with a one way ticket to absolutely anywhere else, is as good a place as any for David Obua to be.

It remains to be seen if the Tynecastle club's owner Vladimir Romanov will now relax the purse strings and allow Jefferies to invest money in strengthening the key areas of the team that anybody could pinpoint as needing immediate remedial attention.
We can live in hope, though probably not expectation.
I'm not a massive fan of mixing football and music (my first and second loves), but St. Johnstone get massive plus marks in that respect in my book, for running out onto the pitch in time to the Ska classic 'Liquidator' by the Harry J Allstars, how cool is that!?
I also heard 'A Town Called Malice' and some Public Image Ltd belting out over the PA system too ... a vast improvement on all the usual Lady Ga Ga and Sophie Ellis Bextor nonsense, innit!?


Harry J (Johnson not Johnstone) a legendary Reggae producer from Kingston, Jamaica, is actually approximately one third Scottish by descent. I doubt if anybody else at McDiarmid Park today knew that, or possibly even wanted to.
But it keeps us students of musical miscellanea happy to know about such things and right now I'm positively beaming to be sharing this life enriching information and knowledge with you all.

I don't recall Hearts having a single shot on target during the first half, but the home side had plenty.
At half time I sent a text message to my mate who we'd left behind in Edinburgh to attend to some 'family' business ...
'Nil each here, but Saints have been the far better side, good job they don't have anyone who could put a finishing touch to all their chances.'

Filipe Morais ball tampering

Straight from the restart, Hearts very nearly opened the scoring, when Gary Glen smashed a close range shot over the bar. A statement of intent that the Jambos were going to get a grip and stop buggering about maybe?
Err, not quite.
Five minutes later, Kenny Deuchar steered home Danny Grainger's left wing cross inside the six yard box and St. Johnstone were in front. Deservedly it must be said.
"Sack in the morning" and "Jim Jefferies, you're having a laugh" sang the bouyant St. Johnstone fans.
Just as well Vladimir Romanov wasn't present to hear them, given his leanings towards making unorthodox and spur of the moment decisions.
I bet he can't jump over all five photographers at once

Andy Driver, out on the left wing and back from injury was introduced into the fray at half time and gave Hearts a few extra options, but elsewhere on the pitch some of the passing and apparent lack of effort and urgency was, to be frank, woeful!

Christian Nade almost levelled the score when he flashed an header high and wide of the target, but it was always St. Johnstone who looked more likely to add to the scoreline.
Nade flashing the ball high and wide

Gordon Smith had replaced Gary Glen up front on 65 minutes and right at the very death, into injury time actually, he had two gilt edged chances to snatch a point for the visitors.
The first was agonisingly wide, the latter was cleared off the line by Gary Irvine.
The report I heard on the radio after the match, on the Danderhall Hearts bus back over the Forth Bridge to Midlothian, confirmed that Smith's late effort was the only chance Hearts managed to get on target all afternoon.
I guess the Hearts revival and Jim Jefferies feel good factor will just have to stay on hold a while longer then.
... and Smith must score!

The 'Weekender' edition of the Edinburgh Evening News I read when I got back into Bonnyrigg ran the headline 'New boss pledges to land goalscorer straight away.' Fingers crossed then, eh!?
My very apt pick up point for the bus.
Outside a maroon and white funeral directors.

In conclusion:
St. Johnstone deserved their victory. And Hearts got what they deserved too, nothing.
The visitors did apply themselves for the last quarter of an hour or so, but football is a ninety minute game.
It would be wrong and unfair to judge Jim Jefferies on this performance, he was driving blind today, but will now hopefully be in a position to address all the flaws he will have seen first hand out on the park this afternoon, with immediate effect.