First Team

On this day...

30th March 2020

A look back across the years on March 30th...

1996: Falkirk 0-2 Hearts


What were the teams?

Falkirk: Lamont, Weir, Elliot, Gray, James, McGowan, MacKenzie, Ferguson, Graham, Johnston, Hagen. Subs: McGrillen, Johnston, Finnigan.

Hearts: Rousset, Locke, Ritchie, Berry, McManus, Bruno, Johnston, Mackay, Colquhoun, Fulton, Pointon. Subs: McPherson, Thomas, Lawrence.


How did it unfold?

The Herald

Where to now, Falkirk.

Caretaker manager Gerry Collins and his players will not agree, but everyone else could have a fair stab at answering that question.

It's not the done thing, of course, to wave any white flags or to admit defeat before the ``mathematically impossible'' stage of the season has arrived, so it was no surprise to hear Collins defiantly say his team were not going to throw in the towel after this, their fifth defeat on the bounce.

But the boys from Brockville are looking more and more as if they're in the middle of their own production of Dead Man Walking.

Premier division wise, they're still alive and kicking, but unless something drastic happens, they're on the long, slow walk towards execution day.

A win over Hearts would have given them a real chance of earning a stay of that gory fate, but a reprieve seldom looked on the cards.

Once Scotland Under-21 defender Paul Ritchie had glanced home a fourteenth- minute header, the Bairns were simply up against it.

Once skipper Andy Gray was sent off for a tete-a-tete with counterpart Gary Locke 19 minutes later, the wheels came off the bogie.

All things considered, it turned out to be rather an eventful day for the Hearts captain, who also incurred the wrath of his manager for not doing his job properly, and then made the game safe for his side with a vicious 25-yarder which, without actually sticking two fingers in the air, was about as near as he could get to a Harvey Smith style riposte.

“The manager was giving me stick, because at 1-0 Derek Ferguson had a chance for Falkirk which hit the bar.

“I had not matched his run, so he wasn't too pleased.

You've just got to do what you're told, but I think that was a good answer to him,'' explained young Locke, whose celebrations took him straight towards the Hearts bench.

“I was annoyed that Gary had lost Ferguson, but it was nice of him to come over to the dug-out after he'd scored and let me relay the message to him,'' countered Jim Jefferies.


What happened next?

The win kept Hearts in fourth spot in the table but narrowed the gap on third-place Aberdeen to three points while extending their lead over Hibs to six points.

Falkirk remained deep in relegation trouble, six points adrift at the foot of the table. 

Hearts would meet the Dons next in the Scottish Cup semi finals and it was another memorable day at Hampden. John Robertson gave the Jambos the lead after 80 minutes only for Duncan Shearer to equalise with three minutes remaining, however, in injury time Allan Johnston bagged the winner and a cup final spot.


2014: Hearts 2-0 Hibs


We recently featured this party in our Classic Matches series, click here to read all about it.


2019: Hearts 2-1 Aberdeen


What were the teams?

Hearts; Zlamal, Brandon, Mulraney, Shaughnessy, Souttar, Berra, Haring, Clare, Ikpeazu, Wighton, Djoum. Subs: Doyle, Bozanic, Lee, MacLean, Cochrane, Godinho, Keena.

Aberdeen: Lewis, Ball, Lowe, Considine, Shinnie, McKenna, McLennan, Stewart, Cosgrove, McGinn, Ferguson. Subs: Cerny, Devlin, Wilson, Gleeson, Halford, May, Campbell.


How did it unfold?

Barry Anderson (Edinburgh Evening News)

Conor Shaughnessy returned to the Hearts starting line-up on the left of a three-man defence for this encounter. With Ben Garuccio sidelined for ten months, Jake Mulraney was deployed at left wing-back against an Aberdeen side in a familiar 4-2-3-1 system. Their greatest threat was centre-forward Sam Cosgrove with 18 goals in 35 appearances this season.

A vociferous travelling support followed Derek McInnes' side to Tynecastle and watched a fascinating battle evolve between their two centre-backs, Andy Considine and Scott McKenna, and the Hearts striker Ikpeazu. It was a bruising duel throughout the afternoon between three physical units.

Aberdeen struck first on 15 minutes. Niall McGinn's corner was headed powerfully against the crossbar by Cosgrove and McLennan was in place to head the rebound downwards and into the net from close range. Cosgrove then found himself fortunate to receive a yellow rather than a red card after appearing to lead with an elbow while challenging Christophe Berra.

Hearts fans and manager Craig Levein became exasperated watching Ikpeazu being manhandled at times by Considine and McKenna without referee John Beaton awarding fouls. The Englishman continued hustling and chased a seemingly lost cause down the left flank to win possession from Considine. His low cross evaded the runners in maroon, however.

That was a recurring theme of the first half for the home side. When they got into decent areas out wide, the final ball lacked quality. Consequently they weren't able to work Joe Lewis in the visitors' goal.

At the other end, Zdenek Zlamal was becoming busier. The Czech goalkeeper was at full stretch on 42 minutes to push Cosgrove's looping header from Lewis Ferguson's cross over his crossbar. He then fisted away Graeme Shinnie's dangerous 25-yard drive moments before the break. The sun was bright at Tynecastle but it was most definitely Aberdeen shining at that point.

Hearts passed up a glaring opportunity to equalise five minutes into the second half. Lewis came out for Berra's long ball near the edge of his penalty area but was distracted by Jamie Brandon arriving to challenge. The goalkeeper failed to collect and the ball dropped for Ikpeazu to stroke into the unguarded net. Somehow, the striker's first-time attempt bounced wide.

The hosts kept forcing the issue and on the hour mark were rewarded for their persistence. A long and incisive run by Mulraney from inside his own half took him inside the opposition penalty box. A challenge by Considine brought him down and Beaton pointed instantly to the spot. Clare confidently tucked the penalty to Lewis' left to bring Hearts level.

Ikpeazu remained a constant menace. He was cautioned for simulation moments later after intercepting a short backpass and falling as he went past Lewis. The same player then took possession following another driving Mulraney run, but his turn and shot landed in Lewis' arms.

Hearts were enjoying their best spell of the afternoon and might have scored again had Wighton shot first time instead of controlling when a cross arrived at his feet eight yards out. Aberdeen smothered the danger quickly but the hosts were dominating and sensing the chance of a winner. Mulraney was heavily involved in their attacks and Considine was booked for pulling down Ikpeazu.

Their pressure brought them a second goal 13 minutes from the end.

Shaughnessy's long ball was misjudged by Considine with Ikpeazu lurking. He got a toe to the ball as McKenna arrived to clear and managed to stay on his feet to angle his finish beyond Lewis and into the net – causing Tynecastle to erupt.

Unfortunately for the hosts their cult-hero forward was then forced off. An aerial challenge with Dominic Ball left him floored and looking dazed and he was quickly replaced by Oliver Bozanic. Ikpeazu then required medical attention in the home dugout before being stretchered away, whilst on the field tempers boiled over.

Ball's challenge on Clare prompted an angry melee involving several players from both sides as people jostled, shoved and squared up. Beaton dealt with it by booking Ball, Ferguson, John Souttar and Arnaud Djoum.

Five minutes of stoppage-time were played after the regulation 90 minutes before Hearts could rejoice at claiming a huge victory to boost their chances of a European place.


What happened next?

Hearts leapfrogged Hibs into fifth in the table, two points ahead and two points behind Aberdeen in fourth.

A midweek trip to Ibrox was next on the cards as the hoe side cruised to a 3-0 victory thanks to Defoe, Goldson and Arfield goals, meaning only six points separated 3rd and 6th in the Premiership table.


To watch highlights of these matches on HeartsTV, click here.