Stevenson stars in Hearts win
Ryan Stevenson scored twice as Hearts climbed to sixth in the
SPL with a 2-1 win over Dundee United at Tynecastle.
In a match where Rudi Skacel was supposed to be the central
protagonist on his Tynecastle return, Stevenson put Hearts in front
after 15 minutes and added a second from the penalty spot after 31
Keith Watson pulled a goal back after 57 minutes but United
could not find a second as Hearts climbed above their opponents
with victory in their final home match of a tumultuous calendar
The most popular man on the pitch was, curiously, a visiting
player as Skacel started for an unchanged United.
The Czech international’s final appearance of his second spell
at Hearts was the 5-1 Scottish Cup final defeat of Hibernian on May
19 and he selected squad number 51 at United, while he was the
subject of an ovation from the home faithful in the 51st
It was the second time Skacel had faced Hearts this term since
moving to United. He was withdrawn from the Scottish Communities
League Cup quarter-final penalty shootout by United boss Peter
From the first corner, Skacel tackled Stevenson and cleared, his
opponent going to ground in search of a penalty, with appeals
Moments later Stevenson scored, benefiting from John Sutton
occupying the attentions of two defenders and Brian McLean’s
failure to clear a ball from deep. The ball broke for Stevenson,
who simply sidefooted in.
Jamie MacDonald made an instinctive save when Jon Daly met Barry
Douglas’ free-kick from the left and McLean’s torrid afternoon
continued as he could only hit the post with the follow up from two
Dylan McGowan won a penalty when he was bundled over by Willo
Flood trying to meet brother Ryan’s long throw. Stevenson took the
resulting spot-kick and sent Cierzniak the wrong way to score.
McLean headed over from a Flood cross as United resumed on the
attack and Hearts were repelling an aerial bombardment when there
was the bizarre spectacle of a Tynecastle chorus of “Rudi” complete
with the ‘we-are-not-worthy’ bowing gesture.
Skacel acknowledged with a clap of his hands during a break in
play before having a role as United replied. A Douglas free-kick
was only half-cleared, Skacel sliced a shot into the ground and
Watson turned to fire into the top corner beyond MacDonald.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Russell had a chance to
equalise when the ball evaded Marius Zaliukas, but he could only
fire over as Hearts finished victorious.