Still Life In Hearts
Hearts young side will have learnt a valuable lesson on Saturday.
Ryan Stevenson is confident that everyone associated with Hearts will have enjoyed a big lift from the team's first comeback win of a disappointing season. With the Tynecastle side safely ahead of bottom club Dundee in 11th and confined to the bottom six, a lack of fighting spirit could have been forgivable against a Ross County side chasing a European place. With the visitors taking the lead twice through the impressive Steffen Wohlfarth, heads could have gone down on and off the field. The German, making his first start for County, scored a cracker for the opener after firing the ball into the top corner from a tight angle before restoring his side's advantage, scoring a header five minutes after Michael Ngoo had equalised for Hearts. However, Hearts responded with three goals in five minutes to hang onto all three points. Despite having little to play for in the league table, Stevenson sees the win as an important one for a young Hearts side.Captain Stevenson said: "I don't think we've come from the behind this season and won. It's a big result this. Where we are in the league table, looking at it it's grim, and with the cup final not too long ago, there is still a bit of gloom about the place. So we just want to try and finish the season as strong as we can, to see if we can get seventh place. The win gives everybody a lift."Jason Holt scores Hearts second to start the fightback. (c) Russell Sneddon | SportPix.org.uk
Things started to happen after manager Gary Locke mad what turned out to be an inspired double substitution at half-time, along with the late addition of John Sutton, which put more emphasis on getting balls into the penalty area. When County failed to deal with one such cross, Jason Holt hooked in a shot from 20-yards to bring Hearts level again before a wild attempted clearance from Evangelos Ikonomou gave the home team the lead. Ngoo wrapped the points up with an 84th-minute drive under Michael Fraser. Locke enjoyed winning his first game since being made permanent manager, and feels his players are willing to fight until the end of the season. He said: "The players showed the type of spirit and fighting qualities that I am looking for. If they give me that between now and the end of the season then I will be happy. I'm not bothered about any other team and where they are. I am just concerned about putting on performances here that the fans are going to like and try and get as many points as we can. Then we'll see where that takes us."Ross County manager Derek Adams watched, for the second week in succession, his side fail to take points from a game they dominated. He realises that, trailing Inverness by six points in third place, hachieving a European place may now be unlikely. he said: "We've had a terrific season but we will start looking towards next season now. Looking at who we could maybe sign for next season and enjoy the last five games of the current one. Europe is now (between) Motherwell and Inverness' really."
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