Scottish Premiership
HeartsHeart of Midlothian2HamiltonHamilton Academical0

Hearts 2-0 Hamilton Academical: Steven Naismith steers hosts to win

Goals from Steven Naismith and Arnaud Djoum against Hamilton Academical earned Hearts only their second win in 10 Scottish Premiership games.

After losses to Livingston and Aberdeen, Craig Levein's side righted themselves to remain in fifth place before Saturday's Edinburgh derby.

Naismith curled in his 12th goal of the season, and Djoum drilled in a second, before Accies' Shaun Want was sent off.

Michael Smith missed a penalty as Hearts wasted further chances.

Accies, who stay 10th, two points above the relegation play-off place and four off the bottom, round off 2018 with a Lanarkshire derby against Motherwell.

Morrison and Naismith lift Hearts

Hearts' season has unravelled spectacularly in the past two months after leading the Premiership until early October.

With only one win in nine - and four goals scored - Accies' visit offered a prime opportunity to revive momentum and the hosts' intent was clear from the off, with Olly Lee trying a volley inside a minute.

They should have been ahead two minutes later, when a stooping Naismith could only head into the side-netting after the first of a series of dangerous crosses from the impressive Callumn Morrison.

Steven MacLean also headed wide from a Ben Garrucio cross before the Australian left-back turned provider again for the opener.

A simple pass found Naismith in far too much space and the Scotland striker had time to switch the ball to his right before curling a lovely finish into the right corner for his 14th goal of the season, including two for his country.

The hosts didn't have long to wait to double their lead. Morrison whipped another penetrating ball in from the right and, as Accies failed to clear, the ball dropped invitingly for Djoum, who controlled it with his first touch before firing right-footed into the bottom-left corner.

Hamilton barely offered an attacking threat before the interval, a tame Scott Martin shot their only effort of note, and that pattern continued in the second half.

Hearts defender Smith fired over after a spot of pinball in the Accies area, Morrison clipped the bar with a cross-cum-shot from the right, and substitute Sean Clare broke away before squaring it to Djoum, only for Martin to nick in ahead of the midfielder.

Accies were reduced to 10 men when Want, booked earlier for a foul, failed to control the ball just inside his own half, allowing Naismith to steal possession. Want tugged on the striker's shirt in a cynical attempt to rectify his error and referee Don Robertson had little choice but to send the defender off.

Hearts should have extended their lead with 12 minutes left after Robertson adjudged Ziggy Gordon had fouled Hearts substitute Jake Mulraney, much to the bemusement of everyone else in side Tynecastle. But justice of sorts was done when Smith's penalty came back off the bar.

It was the only break Accies enjoyed amid an otherwise dispiriting defeat.

Arnaud Djoum, centre, doubled Hearts' advantage
Arnaud Djoum, centre, doubled Hearts' advantage

'Naismith was a constant pest' - analysis

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at Tynecastle

There should be no surprise that Hearts are playing with more freedom in front of goal again after Naismith's return from injury. The Scotland striker was a constant pest and should he maintain his fitness, will undoubtedly play a huge part for the Tynecastle club in the second part of the season.

Hamilton set out to frustrate the home side from the outset but the midfield trio of Martin, Tom Taiwo and Dougie Imrie sat off their opponents as Hearts had time and space to pick their passes at will, and Accies strikers Mickel Miller and Fredrik Brustad were anonymous. On this evidence, survival will once again will be Accies' sole aim.

Accies 'made naive mistakes' - reaction

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "Steven Naismith made a huge difference. I feel better about having him on the park and the rest of the players felt the same. I have spoken many times about the type of character he is in the dressing room and I am delighted for him to get a goal because he was on a brilliant scoring streak before he got injured.

"We squandered half a dozen chances but it was good to see us playing well. It was comfortable, even if the scoreline doesn't necessarily say that."

Hamilton boss Martin Canning: "For us to come here and perform we needed our strongest team on the park but that wasn't the case.

"It was a young team out there, lacking a bit of experience, and we were naive at different points. The mistakes we made were naive mistakes."

Line-ups

Hearts

Formation 4-4-2

  • 13Doyle
  • 26GodinhoBooked at 30mins
  • 2Smith
  • 6Berra
  • 17GaruccioBooked at 66mins
  • 38Morrison
  • 8Lee
  • 5HaringSubstituted forBozanicat 81'minutes
  • 10Sutchuin-DjoumSubstituted forMulraneyat 74'minutes
  • 14Naismith
  • 18MacLeanSubstituted forClareat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Zlamal
  • 7Bozanic
  • 9Clare
  • 16Hughes
  • 21McDonald
  • 23Mulraney
  • 51Hickey

Hamilton

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Woods
  • 5TshiembeSubstituted forSowahat 10'minutes
  • 21WantBooked at 71mins
  • 4Gordon
  • 2McGowan
  • 12Taiwo
  • 25Martin
  • 7Imrie
  • 3McMann
  • 11MillerSubstituted forBinghamat 53'minutes
  • 31BrustadSubstituted forBoydat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Bingham
  • 13Gogic
  • 16Enigbokan-Bloomfield
  • 20Marsden
  • 22Monlouis
  • 30Boyd
  • 46Sowah
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
16,475

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamHamilton
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home15
Away4
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home5
Away6
Fouls
Home8
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Hamilton Academical 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Hamilton Academical 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Gary Woods.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Olly Lee (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Michael Smith.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Marcus Godinho.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Oliver Bozanic replaces Peter Haring because of an injury.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Aaron McGowan.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Thomas Taiwo.

  12. Post update

    Penalty missed! Still Heart of Midlothian 2, Hamilton Academical 0. Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian) hits the bar with a right footed shot.

  13. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jake Mulraney (Heart of Midlothian).

  15. Post update

    Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian).

  17. Post update

    Lennard Sowah (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Jake Mulraney replaces Djoum because of an injury.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Steven Boyd replaces Fredrik Brustad.

  20. Post update

    Delay in match (Heart of Midlothian).

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