All’s not Well as Stewart lifts Hearts

Good work from Christian Nade allowed Stewart an easy finish for

his seventh goal of the season late in the first half. Motherwell

fell to their fifth Scottish Premier League defeat in a row but

they put Hearts under fierce pressure for much of the second half.

Hearts withstood waves of attacks to record their third consecutive

win as the visiting players responded well following the sacking of

Jim Gannon. Former Scotland manager Brown, 69, began work on the

eve of the game after the Fir Park board lost patience with

Gannon’s unwillingness to sign a contract six months into his

reign. The short turnaround meant youth development chief Gordon

Young picked the team and he made three changes from Saturday’s 3-1

defeat by St Johnstone. Stevie Hammell, Ross Forbes and Jamie

Murphy came in with Yassin Moutaouakil missing out through injury

and Keith Lasley and John Sutton dropping to the bench. Brown, who

began his coaching career at Fir Park in 1974, took a place on the

bench alongside assistant Archie Knox and they should have been

celebrating inside two minutes. John Ruddy’s long kick caused

confusion in the home defence and Marius Zaliukas headed the ball

straight to Jim O’Brien with Marian Kello way off his line, but the

winger’s cushioned volley lacked power and allowed the goalkeeper

to get back just in time to claw the ball off the line. Murphy and

O’Brien, playing in advanced wide positions in Motherwell’s

five-man midfield, both had decent efforts at goal as the visitors

continued their bright start. Well threatened with a direct

counter-attack with Lukas Jutkiewicz inches from connecting with

O’Brien’s left-wing cross. Hammell comfortably headed out a Jose

Goncalves header as he guarded the near post at a corner before

Hearts lost Jamie Mole to injury in the 20th minute, with Nade

coming on. Hearts pushed Motherwell back for a 10-minute spell but

a wayward shot from Nade was all they had to show for their

pressure. Motherwell looked comfortable but they conceded a soft

goal in the 39th minute. Nade turned Stephen Craigan on the byline

and recovered quickly after the Well captain and Tom Hateley

combined to stop him crossing. Ruddy came well out of his goal to

close Nade down but the goalkeeper was stranded when the Frenchman

cut the ball back and Stewart passed it into the net from eight

yards. Forbes volleyed well over from the edge of the box after

Jutkiewicz had intercepted a poor pass back from Zaliukas moments

after the restart but Motherwell almost fell further behind in

controversial circumstances in the 54th minute. Crawford Allan gave

Motherwell a free-kick on the halfway line after Steve Jennings and

Stewart went in for a challenge but reversed his decision and

allowed Goncalves to take it quickly with the visitors up field.

Nade was clear down the left and crossed for Suso Santana but the

Spaniard skewed his volley high and wide before the Motherwell

players surrounded the referee and Brown raced to the touchline to

protest. Motherwell pushed forward and Kello kept out a Steven

Saunders header before diving low to brilliantly push away

Jutkiewicz’s strike following a knockdown by Sutton, on moments

earlier form Murphy. The Hearts keeper then held a Sutton volley

and smothered at the feet of the Englishman after Jutkiewicz and

O’Brien had worked their way into the box. Motherwell brought on

Lasley and Steven McGarry, making his first SPL appearance of the

season, and they continued to press. But Hearts held firm with

their defence putting their bodies in the way time after time,

especially during a late goalmouth scramble when Kello came off his

line to block from Lasley. Craigan then headed wide from a Forbes

corner and Kello beat away a Forbes free-kick deep into injury