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Heartening win for Jefferies
Manager Jim Jefferies was thrilled as Hearts returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over St Johnstone at Tynecastle.
Rudi Skacel's third-minute strike saw Hearts, who lost 4-0 at Celtic on Wednesday night, cut the gap at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to the leaders and second-placed Rangers, with the Old Firm duo in Co-operative Insurance Cup semi-final action this weekend.
Jefferies said: "The most important thing was a win, to bounce back. The gap gets wider to the teams behind and we're on track to do what we set out to do, which is third place."
He added: "We'll keep grinding out results and see what happens.
"Everyone wrote us off after Wednesday night - they can write us off if they like."
Hearts, who beat Rangers last weekend and meet them again on Wednesday, had won 10 of the previous 11 league games before the loss at Parkhead.
With Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov making a rare appearance at Tynecastle the hosts - featuring five changes from the loss at Celtic - were keen to make a swift start and they did just that.
Marian Kello collected Jody Morris' corner and launched a long kick forward which Suso Santana headed on for Craig Thomson. Thomson went in behind Alan Maybury and sent in an early low cross behind the Saints defence for Skacel to net as he rushed into the area.
It was the midfielder's eighth of the season and he could have had a ninth. Lee Wallace set up Skacel early in the second half and although he fluffed the opportunity Hearts held on to record a 13th win in the last 16 SPL games.
"We couldn't get the second goal to kill them off," added Jefferies. "We got off to a great start. I thought in the first half we were dominant and should have been more up. In the second half the chance which fell to Rudi when Lee Wallace did brilliantly - if that had gone in then it was all over, we would have been comfortable."
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