Hearts were without a win in seven games and had scored just three goals in that time, they faced a Motherwell team in the capital who had nicked a point off Celtic in midweek.
Craig Levein’s Jambos made one change following their draw in Perth against St Johnstone, Marcus Godinho replacing Craig Wighton as Hearts went with a 3-5-2 featuring Michael Smith as a makeshift centre back alongside Clevid Dikamona and Christophe Berra.
Stephen Robinson’s Steelmen made four changes following their last-gasp draw against Celtic in Lanarkshire. The fit again Charles Dunne, Andy Rose, Alex Rodriguez Gorrin and Curtis Main all started in place of injured captain Peter Hartley, Liam Donnelly, Allan Campbell and Conor Sammon who’s ineligible to play against his parent club.
Nearly sensational start for the Steelmen
The visitors could have been ahead in less than 20 seconds. A long ball forward was headed onto Ollie Bozanic by Christophe Berra and Danny Johnson was able to smash just past Bobby Zlamal’s left hand post, having grabbed the Well’s equaliser against Celtic.
Michael Smith sprayed a long crossfield ball in search of Demi Mitchell who, after a lovely cushioned first touch, burst into the box. The left back looked to find the sliding Steven MacLean in the box but Motherwell were able to turn behind for a corner.
Danny Johnson would then clip one over the top for Curtis Main to chase. After being adjudged to have fouled Clevid Dikamona, he would find the top corner with a superb left-footed finish on the spin but it would be ruled out following the supposed foul on the Congolese defender. Harsh it has to be said, certainly a decision up for debate.
Hearts crank up the heat
Hearts would take the lead and after struggling for goals as of late, this may not go down as coming from one of their own players. Bozanic’s throw in was sent back to the Australian, who sent a curling cross in for Peter Haring to apply some pressure, being sandwiched, and nod the Jambos in front.
Upon the replays, it appears to deflect off Charles Dunne’s shoulder. Haring was credited with the goal, a welcome sight given their last goal at Tynecastle was an own goal in the match against Rangers, but Hearts couldn’t care less. They were in front with less than a quarter of an hour on the clock.
The men in maroon could’ve doubled their lead in unorthodox fashion. Marcus Godinho’s intended cross very nearly catching out Mark Gillespie, who had to turn behind for a Hearts corner. The hosts very much beginning to come alive.
A drab contest in truth
The second half began with Motherwell looking for an equaliser. Richard Tait crossed for Curtis Main who nodded down for Gorrin, finding Johnson in the box. Johnson’s shot eventually deflecting off his teammate, bread and butter stuff for Bobby Zlamal to come out and gather.
Hearts would then come forward in search of a two goal cushion. MacLean flicked over his head in search of Djoum, who slid to Sean Clare making an overlapping run on the left hand side. The Englishman, in search of his first Hearts goal, shot behind from a tight angle.
Ryan Bowman would flick a header towards goal which again proved routine for Zlamal before Curtis Main tried to test the Czech keeper from range. The duo having both scored at Tynecastle already this season for Motherwell in the Betfred Cup quarter final, after another here.
Olly Lee could’ve sealed Hearts fate, having come off the bench and shot wide but in the end it wouldn’t matter. A poor contest reflected by the scoreline, not that Hearts will care as their winning drought of late has come to an end.
Next up for the Jambos, they travel to West Lothian to take on Livingston in a Friday night match at Almondvale. Motherwell are also away at the weekend as they take on St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.