Craigan and Murphy were dropped at the expense of Sutton and Forbes and we returned our usual formation with four at the back. Reynolds again stared at left back and on this occasion he had a very comfortable game. There was a scare just before kick off that suggested he was injured in the warm up but in the event he played, and until the last twenty minutes might as well have been a spectator.
It was evident early on that any scars from the St Mirren debacle had healed. We looked confident and eager to push forward. This was helped in no small measure by the 4-5-1 setup adopted by the opposition. Nade was the lone striker and as a result our backs had plenty of time and space to knock the ball around.
A first half attack
There was some disappointment that were not ahead at the break. As suggested earlier, Ruddy had no shots to stop and we had managed to create several chances. O'Brien was bundled in the box but the referee turned away. Hutchison and Saunders came close but no breakthrough came to break the deadlock.
The second half, under the floodlights for the first time this season, saw no change to the balance of play. O'Brien unleashed a fierce volley which whizzed beyond the top corner into the side net and we pressed for the opener. It arrived in 55 minutes when a Moutouakil cross from the right found Forbes in space in the left side of the box. His first time connection was sweet and the low drive thundered off Balogh and into the net.
We kept the pressure on and Hearts gave themselves a mountain to climb in 70 minutes. Jonsson and O'Brien were in a race for a long ball and our man's tenacity forced the defender to foul on the edge of the box. The referee waved the red card and Jonsson departed- along with the hopes of the visitors. Forbes poor effort from the resulting free kick was followed within minutes by his substitution as Humphrey came on to pose hearts more problems.
The visitors fought hard as they tried to snatch an underserved equaliser but we held on. The seven minutes of added time (caused mainly by treatment for Nade) ticked away and eventually the home fans celebrated the final whistle.
Next up are our neighbours across the Clyde and if we take the same attitude to Hamilton we will have every chance of more celebrations next week.