Scottish Premiership
Hearts3Hamilton1

Heart of Midlothian 3-1 Hamilton Academical

Jamie Walker scores a penalty
Jamie Walker's penalty put Hearts ahead for the first time

Jamie Walker's double helped Hearts come from behind to beat Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premiership.

Accies exposed Hearts' frailties early in the second period with Ali Crawford converting Grant Gillespie's driven cross.

But Walker headed home Sam Nicholson's delivery to level matters.

Nicholson then won a penalty, which Walker tucked away, and Nicholson fired a late third to secure the three points for Hearts.

Crawford shines

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Scottish Premiership highlights: Hearts 3-1 Hamilton

Hamilton player-manager Martin Canning admits he is surprised that Crawford is still at Hamilton, given the accomplishment of his technique and creative ability. The midfielder reminded again that his poise and instincts are vital to Hamilton's fortunes.

Crawford nominally began on the left of a four-man midfield, but he drifted into pockets of space with menacing intent, and was a key supporter of lone striker Alexandre D'Acol.

Crawford's finish for his goal was typically assured, precisely steering a volley into the corner of the net from Gillespie's centre. It was a measure of the game, though, that his strike, in the 50th minute, was not only Hamilton's first shot on target but their first meaningful effort of the game.

Hamilton celebrate
Crawford (far left) netted his fourth goal of the season

Spurned chances

Hearts had been haunted by a series of regrets. They were the dominant side in the first half and created a number of chances, but by half-time were left to rue their failure to convert them.

Callum Paterson managed four attempts on goal, with one deflected wide, one header wide and another over, then a rasping 25-yard shot that flew just over the bar.

Conor Sammon ought to have scored but side-footed wide, while Walker struck the post after the interval. Even after the equaliser, Hearts' pressure delivered more frustration, with Paterson's header cleared off the line by Hamilton centre-back Georgios Sarris.

Walker and Nicholson combination

Winger Walker was not prepared to allow the game to slip away from Hearts. On his return to the side for the first time in the league since a dive against Celtic last month led to a two-game ban, he finally delivered the telling touch with a crisply-taken header from Nicholson's cross.

The introduction of Nicholson as a substitute made a difference, not only because of his liveliness and direct running, but also because it freed up Walker to move into the centre of the field and be more influential.

It was Nicholson who won the penalty that led to the winning goal, too, being brought down by Hamilton substitute Shaun Want. Walker calmly converted.

There was still a moment of alarm for the home side, though, when Hamilton's Dougie Imrie went down inside the penalty area, but referee Craig Thomson ruled out a spot-kick.

Nicholson then completed the scoring with a far-post volley in time added on.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson: "We knew it was going to be [hard-fought]. We knew we'd have to be at our best. They scored a goal and put us under a lot of pressure. The quality eventually came through, which we were pleased with.

"I'm a distance away [from the Nicholson penalty]. The [Hamilton] player goes in, he's off the ground, and [Nicholson] goes down, so it's a penalty. The referee's made a decision and it looks like there's real contact, so you have to accept and back the referee's decision.

"[Walker] is a top player. He's struggled to get back into the team because Nicholson's done so well, but I'm lucky I've got real quality. [Robbie] Muirhead came on, Bjorn [Johnsen] came on and turned the game for us and we need that quality."

Hamilton player-manager Martin Canning: "I thought we performed well, worked hard and frustrated Hearts at times.

"I don't think it's a penalty, having seen it back. The boys are saying the player himself said he was off balance and had no option but to go down, but didn't feel it was a penalty. It's frustrating when these decisions go against you.

"I thought there was contact [in the box on Imrie], Dougie's cut in and the boy's stepped across him. I'll never criticise a referee publicly because it's such a hard job. They get split-seconds to see it and they've got to make a judgement call. You just hope that over the course of the season it evens itself out."

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1Hamilton
  • 2PatersonBooked at 87mins
  • 14Souttar
  • 4Rossi
  • 3Rherras
  • 10Sutchuin-DjoumSubstituted forNicholsonat 62'minutes
  • 6KitchenBooked at 90mins
  • 15Cowie
  • 7Walker
  • 18SammonSubstituted forJohnsenat 62'minutes
  • 32WattBooked at 30minsSubstituted forMuirheadat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Ozturk
  • 8Buaben
  • 11Nicholson
  • 13Noring
  • 20Johnsen
  • 23Muirhead
  • 24Smith

Hamilton

  • 1Matthews
  • 22Lyon
  • 89Sarris
  • 2SeaborneSubstituted forWantat 19'minutesBooked at 80mins
  • 6GillespieBooked at 62mins
  • 21Donati
  • 7ImrieBooked at 81mins
  • 8DochertySubstituted forRedmondat 76'minutes
  • 18MacKinnon
  • 11CrawfordBooked at 90mins
  • 9D'AcolSubstituted forBinghamat 54'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Redmond
  • 12Kurtaj
  • 15Bingham
  • 17Longridge
  • 20Brophy
  • 27Want
  • 35Thomson
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
15,947

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamHamilton
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home22
Away6
Shots on Target
Home10
Away1
Corners
Home8
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 3, Hamilton Academical 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 3, Hamilton Academical 1.

Booking

Igor Rossi (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Booking

Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 3, Hamilton Academical 1. Sam Nicholson (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Robbie Muirhead.

Foul by Bjorn Johnsen (Heart of Midlothian).

Grant Gillespie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Don Cowie (Heart of Midlothian).

Georgios Sarris (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian).

Daniel Redmond (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Massimo Donati (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Jamie Walker.

Foul by Robbie Muirhead (Heart of Midlothian).

Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 2, Hamilton Academical 1. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Booking

Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Shaun Want (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Penalty Heart of Midlothian. Sam Nicholson draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Shaun Want (Hamilton Academical) after a foul in the penalty area.

Attempt missed. Daniel Redmond (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Remi Matthews.

Attempt saved. Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Daniel Redmond replaces Greg Docherty.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Georgios Sarris.

Attempt missed. Bjorn Johnsen (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Robbie Muirhead replaces Tony Watt.

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 1, Hamilton Academical 1. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Sam Nicholson.

Attempt missed. Bjorn Johnsen (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

(Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical).

Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Bjorn Johnsen replaces Conor Sammon.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Sam Nicholson replaces Arnaud Djoum.

Foul by Conor Sammon (Heart of Midlothian).

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Georgios Sarris.

Attempt saved. Don Cowie (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic44001551012
2Hearts5311115610
3Rangers522179-28
4Ross County52127707
5St Johnstone52127707
6Dundee51316516
7Aberdeen513146-26
8Motherwell512256-15
9Hamilton512257-25
10Kilmarnock512257-25
11Inverness CT5113612-64
12Partick Thistle410346-23
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