Elliott brace enough for Jambos

The visitors dominated from the first whistle and there was no

surprise when the Irishman headed the Gorgie side into the lead in

the 22nd minute from a Lee Wallace cross. The first 45 minutes

showed why Accies had failed to win a home league game this season

and that record was kept intact a minute after the break when

Elliott deflected in a Marius Zaliukas header from a Rudi Skacel

corner. Billy Reid’s men had looked forlorn in the first half when

they were completely outplayed and, although they improved after

the interval, in the end it proved to be one of Hearts’ easiest

wins of the season and provides further evidence for those who

believe the Lanarkshire side are on the slide. Pre-match interest

surrounded Andy Webster, who was making his second debut for the

Tynecastle side. The big defender, who returned to his former club

after being released by Rangers on transfer deadline day, replaced

Ismael Bouzid while Wallace came in for Adrian Mrowiec. While

Webster could have spent the first half back at Ibrox watching

Rangers play Motherwell, such was the lack of threat from the

Lanarkshire side, Wallace was key to the Jambos’ superiority. The

Scotland left-back helped the Gorgie men dominate possession as

Accies shaped up in a defensive formation which hinted at a long

afternoon for the suffering Hamilton fans. Mickael Antoine-Curier

was Accies’ lone striker and he had virtually no support in the

opening stages as Hearts kept the ball albeit without threatening

New Douglas Park goalkeeper Tomas Cerny. In the 16th minute Jim

McAlister dispossessed Wallace as he raced down the left but the

home side’s promising break, their first of the match, ended with

the Accies midfielder overplaying his cross to the back post.

Moments later, at the other end, Tynecastle midfielder Eggert

Jonsson headed over from a Skacel corner. There was almost an

inevitability about Elliott’s opener after 22 minutes. Jonsson fed

Wallace down the left and when another great cross from the Gorgie

defender came into the box the Irishman dipped his headed to flick

the ball past Cerny from 12 yards. It was just reward for the

Edinburgh team’s superiority and a sorry looking Accies side seemed

incapable of responding. Just after the half-hour mark, as Hearts

swarmed around the Hamilton box again, defender Craig Thomson

drilled a low shot just past the far post. Then, Jonsson was at the

back to post to meet a lofted Thomson corner from the left but

volleyed high over. Hearts did grab their second in the opening

moments of the second half, Elliott deflecting in a Zaliukas header

from Skacel’s corner. In the 73rd minute McAlister had another

left-footed effort from the edge of the box but Marian Kello

confidently smothered. Hearts clearly thought the points were in

the bag as the game entered its closing stages – to the annoyance

of their bench, who urged an increase in energy. Accies huffed and

puffed but the goal did not arrive.