Hamilton Academical 1 Heart of Midlothian 0
Ladbrokes Premiership, Saturday 16th March 2019 – Hope CBD Stadium
Hearts matched the truly miserable weather conditions on Saturday with an equally miserable performance at the Hope CBD Stadium as lowly Hamilton Academical recorded a precious victory.
There were eyebrows raised before the game when Hearts manager Craig Levein made four changes to the team that scraped through in the Scottish Cup against Partick Thistle on Tuesday evening. David Vanecek, Jamie Brandon, Peter Haring and Callumn Morrison all returned to the team as the manager sought to freshen things up. However, like so many occasions this season, a lack of consistency of team selection was to prove Hearts undoing.
Persistent sleet and rain made for depressing conditions for players and spectators alike and was probably the reason why barely 2,000 souls made the effort to head to the game.
Certainly, the Hearts players began the game looking like they would much rather be somewhere else. Accies had the first real chance of the game in the 18th minute when Miller shot over the crossbar.
Callumn Morrison then had an effort which went wide before the home side deservedly took the lead nine minutes before half-time when McGowan volleyed home a corner past a bemused Hearts keeper Bobby Zlamal.
Mackinnon then had a chance to double the home side’s lead but ballooned his effort over the bar as Hearts continued to struggle although Arnaud Djoum did have a header cleared off the goal line.
Craig Levein’s decision to drop Uche Ikpeazu in favour David Vanecek puzzled many of the travelling support but the manager rectified this by keeping the Czech striker indoors at half-time and replacing him with Ikpeazu.
Hearts then brought on Aidan Keena and Craig Wighton, but their introductions made little difference as the blue-shirted Hearts players struggled to make an impact.
The boos from the travelling support at the end of the game told their own story. Another shambolic Hearts performance, one of several in recent weeks. It says everything that the Hearts support are now glad there’s no game for a fortnight due to the international break. When Hearts resume they face Aberdeen, Rangers, Hibernian and a Scottish Cup semi-final. On the basis of today’s performance, Hearts season may well have ended four weeks from now.
Hamilton: Woods, McGowan, Gordon, Kilgallon, Oakley (McMillan, 70′), Miller, Gogic, MacKinnon, Andreu (Tshiembe, 78′), Martin (Imrie, 90′), Sowah.
Hearts: Zlamal, Souttar, Haring, Berra, Clare, Djoum, Garuccio, Mulraney (Keena, 55′), Brandon (Wighton, 65′), Vanecek (Ikpeazu, 46′), Morrison.
Referee: Willie Collum
Top people: Those loyal Hearts fans who made the journey in such awful weather – their efforts surely deserve much more.