Match Report: Motherwell 0-3 Hearts18 September 2022
Euro heroes Lawrence Shankland and Alan Forrest maintained their fine scoring run to see off the Steelmen. The win sees us leap up to third place in the league, after St. Mirren defeated Celtic in Paisley earlier in the day.
The main headline pre-match from Robbie Neilson’s team selection was the sight of Orestis Kiomourtzoglou. The German midfielder, signed weeks ago from Heracles, was finally permitted to make his debut after the Home Office approved his VISA. Meanwhile, Lewis Neilson kept his place in the centre of defence after an impressive showing against RFS in the Latvian capital on Thursday.
Perhaps still dealing with the aftermath of the celebrations in Riga, Motherwell did, in truth, look the sharper of the two sides from the outset. The game was little more than a few minutes old before Ross Tierney and Joe Efford watched early chances go astray. A dragged effort and an offside coming to the rescue for Hearts, respectively.
The Steelmen were soon left to rue this parsimony in front of goal as Lawrence Shankland pounced to fire Hearts into the lead. A Michael Smith cross was poorly dealt with by Motherwell’s Rickie Lamie, with Shankland tearing the ball away and opening fire. Liam Kelly beat away the initial chance, but Shankland made no mistake on his second go, and had us in the lead with 17 minutes gone.
Floored by this setback after a positive start, Motherwell picked themselves up wildly launched a few punches of their own – all failing to land. Blair Spittal saw a shot shank, McGinn saw an effort batter the bar, and Van Veen couldn’t poke the ball past Gordon.
It summed up Motherwell’s first half fittingly, but there was still a big 45 ahead for the Jambos and the ‘Well were unlikely to go down without a fight.
The second half exploded into life, with Hearts surviving a potential Motherwell equaliser by the skin of their teeth. A well-worked attach saw Blair Spittal smash the woodwork with his header, before Paul McGinn saw another effort crash off the post.
And just like before, Hearts would make the hosts pay for their wastefulness in front of goal. Lawrence Shankland did well to bring a fiery Hearts counter to a close as he laid off brilliantly to Al Forrest. The wing kind dispatched a wonderful effort round Kelly and into the bottom corner. A lovely goal.
Motherwell’s plan wasn’t working, so on-loan striker Louis Moult was summoned from the bench to try and find the breakthrough. Fir Park was visibly lifted by the sight of their returning hero, but their cheers were short-lived.
Craig Gordon pulled off a wonderful save to deny a Van Veen header, producing a great stop in the process. The Dutchman eventually threaded across to Moult who tapped into an empty net. The linesman’s flag shot up, and the Hearts support cheered in delight as party scenes in ML1 were extinguished.
Hearts’ dominance was to be rounded off painfully for Motherwell as the Jambos scored three to kill off the game. A lovely through ball from Kingsley found Atkinson. Our Aussie cut back for Forrest who drilled home another sweet strike.
Three goals. Three points. A good day at the office for Heart of Midlothian.
Motherwell: Kelly, Lamie (Cornelius 67’), Maguire (Mugabi 67’), Spittal, Van Veen, Efford (Aarons 30’), Solholm, McGinn, Penney, Tierney (Moult 67’), Goss
Subs: Oxborough, O’Donnell, Mugabi, McKinstry, Cornelius, Aarons, Moult, Mahon, Miller
Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Kingsley, Kiomourtzoglou, Shankland (Humphrys 64’), Devlin (Snodgrass 64’), Halliday (Sibbick 74’), Forrest, McKay (Atkinson 74’) , Cochrane (Haring 40’), Neilson
Subs: Stewart, Haring, Grant, Mackay-Steven, Atkinson, Sibbick, Humphrys, Ginnelly, Snodgrass