Scottish Premiership
HeartsHeart of Midlothian3Partick ThistlePartick Thistle0

Heart of Midlothian 3-0 Partick Thistle

By John BarnesBBC Scotland at Tynecastle

Hearts halted a run of five games without victory in emphatic fashion, easing past struggling Partick Thistle at Tynecastle.

The hosts' trio of goals all came in the first half, with Kyle Lafferty prodding home the opener to notch his 10th league strike of the season.

Steven Naismith doubled Hearts' advantage and John Souttar added a third before the break.

Thistle's Miles Storey twice came close in a drab second half.

The Firhill side remain 11th in the Scottish Premiership, three points above bottom club Ross County, who picked up a point at home to Hamilton Academical.

Hearts sit sixth, seven points clear of the bottom six, but four behind fifth-placed Kilmarnock.

The best early chance fell the way of Hearts from a long throw delivered by Michael Smith - a weapon the home team would use to great effect. Christophe Berra flicked the ball on at the near post, and Callum Booth had to clear the Scotland defender's effort from a yard off the goal-line.

Don Cowie and Steven Naismith had headers off-target as Hearts enjoyed the better of the early skirmishes.

Thistle's Abdul Osman was booked for a challenge on Joaqim Adao and a few minutes later was lucky to escape a second yellow card when he was late with a tackle on Danny Amankwaa.

In the 17th minute Lafferty claimed his 17th goal of the season to break the deadlock. Naismith released a pass beyond the Thistle defence and the Northern Ireland striker loped onto it and slotted the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Tomas Cerny from 16 yards.

Hearts increased their lead four minutes later. Adao won the ball wide on the right before surging forward and delivering a low cross into the box. Naismith took it in his stride and scored his second goal for the Tynecastle club.

Steven Naismith scored Hearts' second goal
Steven Naismith doubled Hearts advantage after Thistle were caught in possession

Amankwaa, in only his second start, looked lively and combined well with Lafferty and Cowie before the latter's shot was saved by Cerny.

Lafferty was then booked for diving as he went down in the box in a challenge with Danny Devine looking for a penalty.

As Hearts continued to dominate Berra had a header from a Cowie corner kick blocked by Kris Doolan at the front post.

But Thistle's defence were caught out again just before half-time - and from another Smith throw-in. Souttar slid in on the six-yard line to meet the delivery and score the hosts' third on the half-volley.

Within two minutes of the restart Christie Elliott sent over a low cross from the right which Doolan flicked goal-wards. Jon McLaughlin blocked the effort and Chris Erskine's follow-up shot flew over the bar.

John Souttar scores for Hearts
John Souttar, bottom, stretched to divert home Michael Smith's throw-in

Storey then had two chances to get Thistle on the scoresheet. Marcus Godinho slipped on the halfway line and the striker pounced on the loose ball, hared forward, but was denied by a good save from McLaughlin.

The goalkeeper showed why he has been called up to the Scotland squad by producing another fine save from Storey's header after an Elliott cross.

Hearts rarely troubled Cerny in the second period, but it mattered not, since all their good work had been done in the first 45 minutes.

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "I said before the game that coming back home we would expect to get the three points and we ran out worthy winners in the end.

"We'd been starting fairly slowly in matches and it was important we got off to a quick start today and we did. We scored some good goals, and my biggest worry at half-time was, can we keep it going in the second half? We didn't quite manage to do that; we had a few opportunities but not as many as the first half.

Hearts boss Craig Levein in the dugout
Hearts boss Craig Levein was satisfied with his team's display

"You try not to say, 'Well done' at half-time because the game's not finished. But I've been there myself as a player when sometimes you think the points are in the bag. I didn't feel we were in danger at any point but it would've been nice to get a few more goals."

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald: "It's all about the first half, we didn't start the game well at all and we lose terrible goals. Disappointing especially after the clean sheet last week.

"When you look at the manner of the latter two goals, it's bitterly disappointing - one from a long throw and the other we give away possession and lose a goal.

"It affects how you play - it's hard to get your front players on the ball and go and be creative when you're two goals down and giving goals away.

"Thankfully it's still in our own hands to get out of this mess we're in, but we can't keep saying that - we'll run out of games."

Line-ups

Hearts

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1McLaughlin
  • 28Godinho
  • 4Souttar
  • 6Berra
  • 5Hughes
  • 15CowieSubstituted forMcDonaldat 77'minutes
  • 2Smith
  • 66AdaoSubstituted forCochraneat 66'minutes
  • 7AmankwaaSubstituted forMooreat 89'minutes
  • 14Naismith
  • 9LaffertyBooked at 35mins

Substitutes

  • 13Hamilton
  • 16Randall
  • 20Callachan
  • 33Moore
  • 43Henderson
  • 46McDonald
  • 47Cochrane

Partick Thistle

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Cerny
  • 14Elliott
  • 15DevineBooked at 89mins
  • 4Cargill
  • 3Booth
  • 10ErskineSubstituted forEdwardsat 64'minutes
  • 6OsmanBooked at 13minsSubstituted forBartonat 45'minutes
  • 37Woods
  • 11LawlessSubstituted forMcCarthyat 45'minutes
  • 9Doolan
  • 39Storey

Substitutes

  • 7Spittal
  • 12Scully
  • 13Barton
  • 16McGinn
  • 19Edwards
  • 21Penrice
  • 24McCarthy
Referee:
Euan Anderson
Attendance:
17,179

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamPartick Thistle
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home16
Away4
Shots on Target
Home5
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away3
Fouls
Home11
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 3, Partick Thistle 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 3, Partick Thistle 0.

  3. Post update

    Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Adam Barton (Partick Thistle).

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Miles Storey (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Lewis Moore replaces Danny Amankwaa.

  7. Booking

    Danny Devine (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.

  8. Post update

    Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Andrew McCarthy (Partick Thistle).

  10. Post update

    Foul by Danny Amankwaa (Heart of Midlothian).

  11. Post update

    Andrew McCarthy (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian).

  13. Post update

    Martin Woods (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian).

  15. Post update

    Andrew McCarthy (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Anthony McDonald replaces Don Cowie.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  18. Post update

    Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Danny Devine (Partick Thistle).

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kris Doolan (Partick Thistle) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic29207259203967
2Rangers31184961362558
3Aberdeen30175844331156
4Hibernian301410643331052
5Kilmarnock30121084038246
6Hearts31101293229342
7Motherwell29105143439-535
8St Johnstone3097143043-1334
9Hamilton2886144050-1030
10Dundee3084183048-1828
11Partick Thistle3067172650-2425
12Ross County3057183353-2022
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