It wasn’t pretty but a late winner 14 minutes from time by Jamie Walker was enough for Hearts to seal a 1-0 win over Dundee and return back to the capital with maximum points, maintaining 3rd place in the process in foggy conditions at Dens Park.
Dundee breathed a sigh of relief midway through the 1st half, Adam Legzdins collected a cross and released the ball out quickly to Jordan McGhee who had no idea the ball was coming to him, bouncing off his heels and back into the danger area, but Hearts couldn’t take advantage.
Luke McCowan looked to make the break-through for a depleted Dundee outfit 3 minutes before the break, Paul McGowan played it to McCowan on the left, he cut inside and hit a low shot on target but Gordon saved with ease.
The 2nd half wasn’t dominated with chances and the 1st time Hearts attempted to expose the Dundee defence, it resulted in a goal for the visitors on 76 minutes, Barrie McKay found Aaron McEneff who hit a long-range shot, cannoning off the post before finding the unmarked Jamie Walker, who slammed into the roof of the net beyond Legzdins.
Fog had been descending on Dens Park for the majority of the match but when Taylor Moore picked up a caution for Robbie Neilson’s side with 10 minutes left, you could hardly see bits of the Hearts box, hardly any trouble for Craig Gordon and the Hearts defence regardless with very little trouble of note in the later stages of the game.
It wasn’t pretty from either side with Hearts doing very little to test the Dundee rearguard, not registering a shot on target until the goal by Jamie Walker, Robbie Neilson’s side were looking a lot more dangerous in the mid-way stage of the 2nd half and made their initiative count with that winner through Walker.
Neilson and Hearts won’t care, the reflection is another big 3 points for the Gorgie outfit.
It was one of those games where one goal was going to be the difference and so it proved in the later stages of the 2nd half, despite Dundee being depleted, the hosts were organised and no Liam Boyce for the visitors certainly told when Hearts tried to attack at James McPake’s side across the game.
Dundee rarely threatened either, but when they did, Hearts were resolute and up to the task, the defensive awareness helping towards the 3 points for Hearts.
With no Jason Cummings, Lee Ashcroft, Shaun Byrne and other notable players, it was always going to be a tough ask for Dundee however, they were in the game and more than competed with Hearts, a lack of intelligence up front through Leigh Griffiths and Danny Mullen could maybe have created a different feeling had a more proactive approach been used.
Christmas week is vital to getting some players back on the park, ready to face Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Boxing Day.
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