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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Boyce & Kingsley send Hearts top


Liam Boyce’s early penalty was his tenth goal of the season

Hearts continued their impressive unbeaten league start and moved top of the Scottish Premiership by dispatching Motherwell at Tynecastle.

Liam Boyce slotted an early penalty after being tripped by Liam Kelly, before Stephen Kingsley curled in a fine first-half free-kick.

Boyce saw a second spot kick saved after the break, while the visitors had chances to reduce the deficit thwarted by an inspired Craig Gordon.

The defeat leaves Motherwell fourth.

The loss also brings to an end to the Fir Park club’s six-game unbeaten league run, but for Hearts it is now eight Premiership games without defeat as they leapfrog Rangers and Hibernian – who play at Ibrox tomorrow.

Both sides went into the game knowing one of them would top the table come full-time, but the visitors made an already difficult task a tougher one when Kelly needlessly tripped Boyce at a tight angle early on.

The Hearts striker picked himself back up to send Kelly the wrong way and notch his 10th of the season.

The visiting side failed to gain any control in the first half, as Neilson’s men deservedly doubled their advantage just after the 20-minute mark when Kingsley guided a free-kick into the top-left corner.

The home side pressed for a third as Ben Woodburn had a strike from range tipped over by Kelly, but Gordon had to be on hand to ensure the hosts took their two-goal lead into the second half.

First, Tony Watt had an effort of his own from range tipped over by the Scotland keeper and the Hearts man got down well to Bevis Mugabi’s header from the resulting corner.

Hearts were keen to put the game to bed early in the second half, as Cammy Devlin dragged a finish just passed the far post, before the midfielder went to ground under a slight nudge from Callum Slattery shortly after.

That gave Boyce the chance to add his second and Hearts’ third, but his poor penalty was parried by Kelly.

Immediately at the other end, Kaiyne Woolery had a chance to reduce the lead to a single goal but was denied by a smart stop from Gordon.

Beni Baningime then called fellow Scotland keeper Kelly into a fine stop, while Motherwell still searched for a way back into the game.

Kevin van Veen had an audacious scissor kick drop wide, while Mark O’Hara’s free-kick was saved. Captain Stephen O’Donnell drilled an effort wide of the near post, too.

The home side were well worth their win, but they needed their keeper to be in inspired form again as Gordon again was on hand once more to deny Ojala with a back-post header, ensuring his side kept a clean sheet along with their three points.

Man of the match – Cammy Devlin

Cammy Devlin
The Hearts midfielder was fantastic in just his second start, registering more touches (81), successful passes (53) and interceptions (5) than anyone else on the pitch

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