First Team

Remember When...?

11th December 2018

Remember when Hearts coasted past Livingston 4-1 at the Almondvale in 2005? No? Then join us for a trip down memory lane...

Background

Hearts were on a roll at the start of the 2005-06 season, and this win over Livingston came right in the middle of their original 12 game unbeaten run. It was the sixth round of Scottish Premier League fixtures and George Burley's men had won the previous five, putting Kilmarnock, Hibs, Dundee United, Aberdeen and Motherwell to the sword. 

They arrived in Livingston on Sunday, ready for the 2pm kick off and full confidence. After all, Livingston were rooted to the bottom of the table and were yet to pick up a win. In fact, they had only one point after drawing with ...

Hearts, meanwhile, were two points clear of the chasing pack - Celtic, Kilmarnock, and Hibs - with a game in hand. George Burley was yet to taste defeat - or a draw - as Hearts manager.

Paul Lambert was in the Livington dugout - he would leave in February 2006, having won only two games in his time as gaffer. However, his young Livingston team did have some very recognisable names. Richard Brittain, Dave Mackay, Derek Adams, Scott Boyd, and James McPake would all go on to make names for themselves in Scottish football. 18-year-old Robert Snodgrass would go on to play for Scotland and West Ham - where he still plays now.

There was another famous name - Dalglish. This time, it was Paul - son of King Kenny.

The Match

Livingston: McKenzie, Brittain, Mackay, Dorado, Adams, Boyd, N. Barrett (Scott, 64'), Vincze, G. Barrett, Dalglish (McPake, 58'), Dair (Snodgrass '70). Subs: Roy, Walker, Strong, Pereira

Hearts: Gordon, Neilson, Fyssas, Pressley (c), Webster, McAllister (Wallace, 81'), Hartley, Brellier, Skacel (Cesnauskis, 85'), Jankauskas (Simmons, 58'), Bednar. Subs: Banks, Camazzola, Berra, Elliot

Hearts dominated the game straight from kick-off and it didn't tke them long to get the opening goal, with Rudi Skacel scoring after only 11 minutes.

It was the new signing's sixth goal in six games, an incredibe run of form he continued with an unmarked header after Hartley had directed Roman Bednar's cross back across goal.

Lithuanian striker Edgaras Jankauskas almost made it two midway through the half when he met Steven Pressley's cross at the back post, but his shot from a tight angle was well kept out by former Hearts stopper Roddy McKenzie.

It wasn't long until Hearts did find that second goal. Jamie McAllister curled in a free-kick and Andy Webster took advantage of poor marking by Dave Mackay to head home. 

Paul Hartley then turned from provider to scorer to make it 3-0. Bednar broke free on the right and his perfectly judged square-ball gave the Scotland midfielder a tap-in.

Craig Gordon was forced into action just before half-time, stretching to tip Graham Barrett's top-corner-bound free kick onto the bar and over.

However, the 22-year-old may feel he could've done better as Livingston got one back seconds later. Barrett drove a free-kick towards goal and Gordron spilled the effort, allowing Paul Dalglish to bundle the ball over the line.

Hearts had started the second half poorly, but they extended their lead after 63 minutes when Neil Barrett was adjudged to have pulled the shirt of McAllister in the box and Hartley sent McKenzie the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Bednar could have got on the scoresheet with 15 minutes remaining but his glancing header from Robbie Neilson's cross flew just wide.

The Aftermath

The win, in front of 8,405 supporters, boosted Hearts to a five-point gap at the top of the table. They wouldn't lose in the league until the end of October, when a 2-0 loss to Hibs ended the unbeaten run.

However, they did lose a game before that - in the League Cup - to Livingston! It came just ten days after the mauling at Almondvale, which also played host to the cup clash. A Ramon Pereira goal beat a vastly different Hearts side, which included Samuel Camazzola and a 17-year-old Jamie Mole.

Hearts fans won't need reminded that George Burley was sacked just hours before the Dunfermline game in mid-October, over a month after the win in West Lothian. He left Hearts top of the table, but come the end of the season the Jambos could only finish second.

There was a cup win too, of course...

You can check out the highlights of the match here.