Post match comments from the game at TynecastleAuthor: Neil Farrell Date: Sunday, 25th Aug 2002
Despite a great deal of expectation before the game, the Pars players once again let down their large travelling support at an away ground.
Call it groundhog day but for the umpteenth time in living memory when we get a good run of games and take a huge travelling support away from home, the same thing happens again and again and we still never learn from it.
Yes folks, I’m talking about the “away game syndrome”.
Fortress East End it is…well most of the time anyway, but we can never take that same good form away from home.
If the sons of God are ever to succeed to their ambition and return European football to the Pars then the away form has to improve…simple as that.
Yesterday was a classic example. Hearts minus Auntie Niemi, Andy Kirk and Stephan Mahe should have been beaten but weren’t.
Jimmy Calderwood changed the starting line-up from the side which comprehensively beat Dundee the previous week, but unfortunately he brought in the wrong players.
Gus MacPherson, who has been plagued with injuries since his arrival at East End, lasted just over half an hour in the game before he broke down early into the season and he was replaced by Chris McGroarty.
That immediately upset the balance of the team, with Dair switching from the left to the right.
This made the left channel even more lightweight and Hearts exploited it with their powerful play.
The Pars had few chances in the 1st half.
What annoyed me most was the fact that it took big Marco 45 minutes (or until Jimmy C or Jimmy Nic told him at half time), to realise that Craig Brewster was not winning a single long-ball in the air from himself against the impressive Kevin McKenna.
At half time I thought that it had 0-0 written all over it or at the most a 1-0 to either team.
After the break however, Levein obviously does not think that tactics are minty sweeties as his team started to dictate the game.
We lost two goals in the space of 4 minutes and Jimmy Calderwood reverted to the famous 2-4-4- formation and then, only then, did we produce the drive and passion required to win games away from home.
We were giving Hearts a hard time of it, but not for the first time did Lady Luck desert us at Tynecastle with Scott Thomson hitting the woodwork and Sean Kilgannon missing from 5 yards, but the damage was already done.
Next week the sales of Buckie in the Auld Grey Toun will increase tenfold as we await the arrival of Glasgow Rangers and their media circus that follows them everywhere. There’s no better game to bounce back from than this one. Watch this space…