2021/22 Season Review: January30 May 2022
Hearts 2-0 St. Johnstone
Josh Ginnelly scored twice, as Hearts returned from the winter break with a bang to pick up all three points against the Perth Saints at Tynecastle.
The returning Hearts supporters, back after winter crowd restrictions were eased, were treated to a fine team display, including two sensational Barrie McKay assists for goal hero Ginnelly.
New Saints signing Nadir Ciftci was causing issues at the other end, and drew two fine saves from an otherwise unoccupied Craig Gordon. First, he ran onto a long ball but Gordon got down well to his left, before a long range effort smashed off Gordon’s chest and away.
At the other end, McKay jinked his way past the Saints defence but his shot was tipped past the post by Zander Clark, as the half ended goalless.
Twenty seconds passed before Hearts took the lead in the second half. McKay collected the ball in midfield and slid a pass through for Ginnelly who made no mistake from just inside the area.
And those two linked up once more for the second with fifteen minutes to play, following a stuffy second half. McKay picked up the ball on the left flank and left his markers for dead with Ciftci and Cammy Macpherson tripping each other up in the process, before sliding the ball across the area for Ginnelly to smash it into the top corner.
Auchinleck Talbot 0-5 Hearts
Up next was a trip to Ayrshire, as Hearts kicked off their Scottish Cup journey against Auchinleck Talbot at Beechwood.
few Jambos inside Beechwood were shocked to see McKay at the centre of things again as the Jam Tarts took the lead. A looping cross from the winger picked out a waiting Andy Halliday who was on hand to head the ball beyond Leishman in the Talbot goal - Hearts one to the good after fifteen minutes.
The referee awarded a penalty foul for handball before half-time; Liam Boyce stepping up to cooly slot the ball home, the second half started exactly as the first ended; with Boyce notching once more to extend his tally for the season. The Northern Irishman nodding in a Halliday cross at the back post to make it three and easy for the JTs after 51 minutes.
Te fourth goal came when substitute McEneff danced his way into the area before threading the ball to Haring; with the big Austrian showing his usual coolness to blast the ball beyond Leishman.
The fourth went to the Austrian, but it was an Aussie who had a big hand in the fifth - skinning his man on the edge of the area before playing the ball across the face of goal to a waiting Cochrane. A simple finish, but the decisive fifth that finished Talbot off.
Hearts 1-2 Celtic
A Hearts fightback wasn’t enough as Celtic left Edinburgh with all three points: first-half goals for the Hoops, coupled with Liam Boyce’s second half penalty miss, left the Jambos to rue what might have been.
It was a bolt from the blue though floored Hearts and sent them to the canvas; with Celtic’s January recruit Reo Hatate driving home a powerful 30-yard raker on 27 minutes to hand the Hoops the lead.
It was only a few minutes later when Georgios Giakoumakis extended the gap for Celtic, ten minutes from half-time, turning in a back-heel beyond Gordon to send the Celts into the break two to the good.
McKay threaded through Boyce, who showed good skill to evade the offside trap and stick it through Hart's legs.
A handball by a Celtic man in the area gave HMFC the chance to claw the points back on 72 minutes. Liam Boyce stepped up to send Joe Hart the wrong way, but things went awry when it clattered off the post and spun away from danger.
Hearts 2-0 Motherwell
Hearts extended their lead in third place into the double digits after a hard-fought victory over Motherwell at a blustery Tynecastle Park.
In trying conditions brought on by Storm Malik, the Jambos' quality in the final third eventually saw off a well-drilled Steelmen, thanks to goals from Andy Halliday and Ellis Simms.
A great sweeping move from Hearts then presented an opportunity for Halliday, as the ball was worked wide to Atkinson whose deep cross was headed straight at Kelly by the midfielder.
Halliday's late arrival at the back post proved to be a warning Motherwell did not heed, as the Jambos took the lead on 38 minutes.
Into the second half, Devlin won the ball in his own half and broke into the final third. Boyce and Simms split their runs to the right and left, with Devlin finding Boyce whose pass across goal was inch perfect for Simms to tap in for a brilliant first goal.