Heart of Midlothian 0-0 Ross County
Saturday 10th August 2019, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Tynecastle Park
Hearts were held to a 0-0 draw with Ross County at Tynecastle Park this afternoon.
Craig Levein made four changes to the side from last week, with Conor Washington and Steven Naismith coming into the side, along with debuts for new signing Loïc Damour and for Aidan White, making his first appearance for the club since signing back in February.
Hearts started brightly and brought opposition keeper Ross Laidlaw into action on four minutes, when a long kick down field by Bobby Zlamal was headed clear to Sean Clare, whose header over the top sent Washington through, but his stinging effort was well saved by Laidlaw.
County proved a threat on the counter, and from a corner, had their first chance when Zlamal palmed the ball out to to Iain Vigurs whose ferociously struck volley was tipped over by the Czech keeper.
County threatened again five minutes later when Michael Gardyne’s clever ball down the left found Sean Kelly, and his cross was met at the back post by Josh Mullin who volleyed over.
Laidlaw was called into action once more just before the half-hour mark, when Craig Halkett beat his man on the halfway line and drove into the County half, slipping the ball through to Washington whose goal bound effort was stopped superbly.
A minute later, and Ross Stewart had a glorious chance to put County into the lead when a drilled Vigurs corner found the striker, but his powerful header went just wide.
Stewart was involved again minutes later, when he burst into the area and was denied by a terrific challenge from Christophe Berra, driving him wide of goal, but his deep cross found Gardyne at the back post, however, the winger volleyed wildly over.
Gardyne came close to giving County the lead once more into the second half, when he beat Michael Smith down the right wing and clipped a ball to the back post and hitting the woodwork, albeit unintentionally. Billy McKay then set up Stewart for another chance, crossing for the forward but Zlamal got down to save.
On 69 minutes, Stewart had the best chance of the game for the visitors when a ball over the top to play the striker in. His first touch was good, but he lost his composure at the vital moment and fired wildly over the bar when one-on-one with Zlamal.
Eight minutes from time, and County earned a penalty when White tripped Marcus Fraser in the area, however the Jambos would be kept in it when substitute Brian Graham’s spot-kick came off the post and Gardyne fired into the side netting from the rebound.
As time ran down, neither side could find a breakthrough and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Hearts: Zlamal; Smith, Halkett, Berra (c), White; Walker, Clare, Damour (Bozanic, 73'), Naismith (Mulraney, 45'), Washington, Ikpeazu (Henderson, 62')
Subs: Doyle, Dikamona, Keena, Irving.
Ross County: Laidlaw; Fraser (c), Fontaine, Morris, Kelly; Mullin, Draper, Vigurs (Spittal, 66'), Gardyne, Stewart, Mckay (Graham, 76')
Subs: Ruddy, Grivosti, Watson, Paton, Gallagher
Referee: Alan Muir