Hearts 1-0 St Mirren: Match Report
Hearts 1-0 St Mirren: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Grainger lifts the gloom
Danny Grainger was the hero as Hearts rewarded their fans for backing the club through a financial crisis with a 1-0 win over St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
The full-back grabbed the only goal of the game in front of a crowd of 16,443 at Tynecastle, in what was the first home fixture since the full extent of the club's problems were revealed.
St Mirren have now lost six SPL games in a row and sit just a single point above bottom side Dundee.
Hearts initially feared this match could be the last in their 138-year history after being hit with a winding-up order before agreeing a deadline extension this week with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs until December 3 to pay a tax bill of almost #450,000.
There was further good news ahead of today's game when the Jambos revealed that more than #500,000 has been raised so far through a share issue as fans rallied around the stricken club.
Those efforts were acknowledged when players, coaches and staff took to the pitch ahead of kick-off to thank fans for their support, while the PA announcer urged the crowd to continue their backing as the club battles for survival.
Boss John McGlynn was keen to focus on the football and he handed Dylan McGowan and Jamie Walker their first senior starts, with Mehdi Taouil and Arvydas Novikovas on the bench, while Saints were boosted by the return of captain Jim Goodwin from suspension.
Hearts appeared to be galvanised by their recent troubles and Saints were forced to deal with an early period of pressure.
A Grainger free-kick from the right found Callum Paterson in the box and his header was deflected just over the crossbar.
Darren Barr then attempted to set up Walker in front of goal but his header was smothered by an alert Craig Samson.
The home side continued to press for the opener and the goalkeeper was called into action again, this time to block a powerful free-kick from Grainger.
Chances for the visitors were scarce early on and Hearts threatened again when Barr saw his low effort fizz just past the post, with Ryan Stevenson's shot also off target moments later.
At the other end, Steven Thompson had a rare chance for Saints but squandered the opportunity by blasting well over as the first half ended goalless.
For all their possession, Hearts also struggled to break down Saints after the break and made their first change on the hour mark when Paterson was replaced by Novikovas.
He quickly had a part to play in the breakthrough with a short free-kick to Grainger, who sent a lovely swerving effort past the grasp of Samson and into the top corner after 63 minutes.
Saints set about trying to haul themselves back into the game and Thompson found himself clear through on goal but the striker was halted in his tracks by the offside flag.
Grainger then claimed his shot was handled in the box by Goodwin as Hearts chased a second goal but there was no spot-kick award from referee Bobby Madden.
Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald had enjoyed a reasonably quiet afternoon but was called into action to block well from a Kenny McLean free-kick from 25 yards out.
Jason Holt then cleared a Marc McAusland header off the line as the home side held on for the win.
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