Heart of Midlothian 1 Livingston 1

Ladbrokes Premiership, Wednesday 4th December 2019 – Tynecastle

Hearts salvaged a point thanks to a late goal from Steven MacLean in their Ladbrokes Premiership relegation battle with Livingston at Tynecastle on Wednesday evening.

A first half goal from former Hibernian player Marvin Bartley looked like sinking Hearts deeper in the relegation mire but MacLean’s late strike denied Livingston all three points.

Hearts have been strongly linked with Daniel Stendel as their next manager, but it was assistant manager Austin MacPhee who was in charge on Wednesday. Hearts injury woes continued as Aaron Hickey was injured in the warm up and was replaced by Jamie Brandon. During the game itself there was a further blow for Hearts when talisman Steven Naismith went off after just 25minutes as Hearts woeful Wednesday continued.

Yet Hearts began brightly with Jamie Walker, Sean Clare and Steven Naismith all trying their luck on goal.  Then the footballing Gods yet again began to turn their backs on Hearts. First Naismith went off injured and thoughts of yet another lengthy lay-off for the Scotland striker quickly came into the thoughts of the Tynecastle faithful.

Then the visitors took the lead. Hearts struggled with a long throw-in and Bartley took full advantage to blast the ball past Hearts recalled keeper Bobby Zlamal. Bartley had not scored a goal since November 2014 and had not managed to do so when in the green and white of Hibs. It summed up Hearts present predicament that he should break his duck at Tynecastle.

Hearts struggled thereafter although they had plenty possession. It looked like another depressing night in Gorgie until veteran striker Steven MacLean pulled a rabbit out of the hat with the game nearing its conclusion after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Hearts fans are earnestly hoping their club appoint a manager – whether this is Daniel Stendel or someone else – as a matter of urgency. Their team is badly shorn of confidence and leadership and there’s a malaise which needs urgently addressed. Relegation is a real possibility.

Hearts: Zlamal, Smith, Berra, Clare, Walker (Meshino, 76′), Mulraney, Whelan, Naismith (MacLean, 25′), Damour (Ikpeazu, 55′), Halkett, Brandon.

Livingston: Sarkic, Taylor-Sinclair, Sibbald (Erskine, 79′), Lamie, Guthrie, Bartley, Pittman, Robinson, Lawless (Odoffin, 88′), Jacobs (Lawson, 46′), Dykes.

Referee: Greg Aitken

Attendance: 14,681