First team

Match Report: Hearts 3-2 Dundee

23 January 2024

Hearts came from behind to secure a massive 3-2 win against Dundee at Tynecastle to go eight points clear in third place.


Dundee went in at half-time two to the good but strikes from Calem Nieuwenhof, Dexter Lembikisa and a stunning curled effort from Yutaro Oda saw the Jambos claim three precious Premiership points.


Steven Naismith made four changes to the side that defeated Spartans on Saturday: Zander Clark was back between the sticks in place of Craig Gordon, whilst on-loan Wolves defender Dexter Lembikisa was handed his maiden start in maroon after his Ainslie Park debut.


The first clear chance fell the way of Hearts after ten minutes: a lung-bursting run from Aidan Denholm saw the Jambos surge up the park before the youngster played a incisive ball out to Kenneth Vargas on the left. The Costa Rican had Trevor Carson in his sights, with his resulting shot tumbling into the palms of the goalkeeper.


Steven Naismith’s squad kept up the pressure and saw a glorious chance go astray five minutes later when Alex Cochrane’s corner found the head of Stephen Kingsley, with his thumping header steered wide of the post.


Against the run of play, the visitors raced into the lead after 19 minutes. The ball was swept to a waiting Jordan McGhee on the edge of the maroon area, with the former Jambo sending a sweet volley past Zander Clark from distance. After a VAR check for possible offside, the goal was soon confirmed.


Hearts attempted to regain a foothold in the game and, in blustery conditions, kept plugging away. Some dogged play from Vargas in a crowded Dundee area saw the ball threaded out to Lembikisa on the right, with his swirling effort forcing a smart stop from Trevor Carson.


The Jamaican impressed consistently down the right and very nearly helped Hearts to an equaliser when his low drive across goal was narrowly sent over the bar following a crafty volley from Lawrence Shankland.


Dundee doubled their lead after 38 minutes through Lyall Cameron. Slack passing from Hearts allowed Dara Costelloe to steal the ball and thread in Cameron – showing a blistering turn of pace to evade his markers and send a low drive past Zander Clark.


HT: Heart of Midlothian 0-2 Dundee


The Jambos emerged for the second 45 with the bit between their teeth and soon found themselves with a deserved goal. Calem Nieuwenhof found himself with acres of space 25-yards from goal: he lined up Trevor Carson and tried his luck – with his low, ranged strike sneaking in at the near post to make it Hearts 1-2 Dundee


Hearts then had a penalty after 63 minutes when Lawrence Shankland was judged to have been impeded by Owen Dodgson in the penalty area as Hearts attacked. The skipper stepped up, but saw his penalty halted by Carson to deny the men in maroon a chance to go level.


Hearts continued their hunt for an equaliser and were soon rewarded for their persistence. Some marvellous wing play from Alan Forrest saw him force his way to the byline before sending a deep cross into the box.


A waiting Dexter Lembikisa leapt high and true to send a thumping header beyond Carson to send Tynecastle into raptures, as the crowd toasted his first goal in maroon since joining from Wolves.


Dundee thought they had a penalty on 75 minutes after Craig Halkett was judged to have brought down Malachi Boateng in the area. A VAR review showed that the foul was committed outside the box, with the original spot kick quashed.


The comeback was complete five minutes from time when substitute Yutaro Oda curled a beauty of a strike into the top right corner of the net. More dogged play from Alan Forrest saw him thread the ball to Oda in a crowded goalmouth.


Showing remarkable composure, and with more than a few Dundee shirts crowding him, he expertly turned and found space to curl a wonderful strike into the top corner to ensure all three points went to Hearts.


Hearts: Clark, Lembikisa, Kent, Kingsley, Halkett, Cochrane (Grant 45’), Baningime (Tait 55’), Denholm (Forrest 31’), Nieuwenhof, Vargas (Oda 72’), Shankland


Subs: Gordon, Grant, Oda, Forrest, Sibbick, Pollock, Tait, Tagawa, Wilson


Dundee: Carson, Dodgson, Shaugnessy, McGhee, Bakayoko (Reilly 80’), Cameron, Ashcroft, Robinson (Main 69’), McCowan (Mulligan 48’), Boateng, Costelloe


Subs: Sharp, Astley, Tiffoney, Main, Mulligan, Reilly, Robertson, Howley, Sylla


Attendance: 18,185