There was only one change to the starting eleven – Murphy moved to the bench and Jutkiewicz was given the nod. He was replaced after an hour as he was obviously struggling but his contribution was part of a great effort by the whole squad.
Any concerns about our defence were washed away in the first half as we took the game to the hosts. Fraser had only a couple of saves to make throughout the entire game (though we had a wee fright when he was first called into action) and Craigan sailed through the ninety minutes and had had his name chanted at the end.
Saunders celebrates the first goal
Jennings and Jutkiewicz were first to threaten MacDonald’s goal and for much of the first half Hearts were reduced to chasing shadows as we passed the ball all over the Tynecastle pitch. Coke and Jennings commanded the middle of the park and O’Brien, keen as ever for the ball, always looked dangerous. Coke had a blistering long range effort parried for as corner after half an hour then Jutkiewicz missed the target from the edge of the box.
It looked as though our command of the game was not going to get any reward before the break but then came the breakthough – two goals in the closing minutes. Saunders left his defensive position to join the melee when we had a corner and he got his reward when the ball eventually fell to his feet for a close finish. Our celebrations had hardly finished before Sutton rose to a Hateley free kick and beat the competition with a glancing header seconds before the half time whistle.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first. Hearts were poor and Fraser was not troubled. We had several chances for the third goal but Murphy (on for Jutkiewicz) missed from close in when scoring looked easier. O’Brien was replaced by Humphrey with ten minutes remaining. He was on the end of a poor refereeing decision when the whistler mistakenly interpreted a ball in the face as a hand-ball. It sent our man clear with only the keeper to beat but his protests were in vain.
We saw out the match in some comfort and the travelling fans stood to a man to express their thanks for a sweet win at Tynecastle. Others will have their work cut out if we are to be denied a plae in Europe next season and the May 5 game at Fir Park against Hibs could well be a decider.