Hearts 0-2 St. Mirren22 June 2023
Two second-half goals from Curtis Main and Mark O’Hara was Hearts’ undoing in Gorgie.
There were four changes from the side that lost at Rugby Park to Kilmarnock last week.
Ross Stewart was handed the gloves following an injury to Zander Clark, with Harry Stone deputising on the bench. Cammy Devlin returned to the starting line up after suffering a head injury on international duty, replacing Orestis Kiomourtzoglou. Andy Halliday and James Hill both come into the starting eleven, with Toby Sibbick named amongst the substitutes.
After a series of showings away from home over the past month that, more oft than not, culminated in an early goal against Hearts – the Jambos enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening quarter as they looked to prise open a stubborn St. Mirren rear guard.
Alex Gogic saw two headers go astray for the Buddies, the first effort grazing the bar on the way out, whilst Shankland cut a frustrated figure after his snapshot at goal inside the St. Mirren area whizzed wide.
Hearts’ biggest difficult was the domination of possession without creating many chances of substance, whilst St. Mirren posed more of a threat on the occasions they broke through the maroon defence.
With just five minutes until half-time, and Hearts still yet to find the decisive opening goal, Halliday saw a header crash off the woodwork. Stephen Kingsley made a delightful run forward before swinging a laser-accurate cross into the area. Halliday rose to meet it, but Carson’s post came to the rescue as Hearts went into the break 0-0.
HALF-TIME: HEARTS 0-0 ST. MIRREN
On his 200th competitive appearance for the club, Michael Smith would open the second half with a corker of a chance. Some fine footwork from Halliday saw him weave into the box. He left the ball for an advancing Smith to run onto, but Trevor Carson was quick to react – producing a stunning save to counter the Northern Irishman’s vicious effort.
The game was really starting to open up and breathe by this point. Former Hearts forward Tony Watt stung the palms of Ross Stewart in the prelude to St. Mirren’s opening goal. When the first goal arrived, it was Curtis Main who did the damage – connecting onto the bounce of a long ball forward before drilling home from 18-yards.
St. Mirren quickly grabbed a second, Mark O’Hara pouncing on a loose ball inside the Hearts box before finishing past Stewart to make it 2-0 to the visitors. It was a clear a shuffle of the pack was required for Hearts, with Stephen Humphrys and Alex Cochrane introduced from the bench.
Within moments of coming on, Cochrane had already sent an effort narrowly over the bar. Hearts’ disappointment was to continue on 62 minutes as Robert Snodgrass picked up a second yellow for a lunging tackle on Curtis Main.
Reduced to ten men, Hearts faced an uphill battle. Unable to find a way back in within the remaining time, it ended in defeat for the Jambos.
Hearts: Stewart, Smith (Cochrane 58’), Rowles, Hill, Kingsley, Devlin (Haring 75’), Halliday (Humphrys 58’), Snodgrass, Grant, Forrest (McKay 75’), Shankland
Subs: Stone, Haring, Kio, McKay, Cochrane, Sibbick, Humphrys, Kuol, Oda
St. Mirren: Carson, Fraser, Shaughessy, Dunne (Gallagher 74’), Strain, Baccus (Kiltie 89’), O’Hara, Gogic (Flynn 90'), Small (Tanser 45’), Watt (Greive 74’), Main
Subs: Urmisky, Gallagher, Tanser, Taylor, Flynn, Kiltie, Boyd-Munce, Greive, Offord,