The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Cowie inspires five-star Jambos to thrash ICT
HEARTS 5 Cowie (7, 47), Sammon (18), Nicholson (78,79) INVERNESS CT 1 Draper (87)
HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson poked fun at the critics who claim Craig Levein is really pulling the strings at Tynecastle after watching his team pick up their first league win of the season in a 5-1 thrashing of sorry Inverness.
The build-up to the game had been dominated by suggestions Levein has a huge influence over the side after former Hearts midfielders Michael Stewart and Gary Mackay both questioned the director of football’s role.
Hearts produced an irrepressible five-star performance as the likes of captain Don Cowie, Tony Watt and Conor Sammon all shone yesterday.
Cowie grabbed a brace either side of a Sammon header before Sam Nicholson notched a late double.
Hearts, however, were denied a clean sheet after Callum Paterson got himself in a mess and scored an own-goal.
In reference to the comments made by Stewart and Mackay, Neilson said: “When the fax came in this morning, and the team came through, I was delighted when I saw it.
“I was pleased with the performance. I’ve said the last few weeks, the performances have been good.
“We have just not really been converting chances and making bad mistakes.
“Today it was the reverse – we didn’t get punished for some of the mistakes we made and we managed to score some goals.
“The two that Don scored were really simple but were executed with real quality.
“The first one, a great ball in from John Souttar, Don dummies it and the lay-off is on a plate for him.
“The second one was almost identical.”
Bjorn Johnsen finally made his debut after a contract dispute with former club CSKA Sofia fell in Hearts’ favour and the American made an immediate impact when he set up Nicholson for the first of his two goals.
Neilson added: “That is the reason we have been fighting hard to get him. He’s quick, can link the play and has good vision and technique.
“The pass through for Sam’s goal, I think he was one of the only person in the stadium who saw it, and it was a great finish.”
Inverness boss Richie Foran, whose side are without a point after three games, is planning to add at least four new faces next week.
He said: “We’re needing players to come in and I know exactly what we need.
“We’ve got two players coming in on Monday. I don’t want to put their names out their until they sign on the dotted line.
“It looks as though they’ll get a contract and we’ll probably have another two in before the end of the week.”
(4-2-3-1) Hamilton 6, Paterson 6, Rossi 6, Souttar 6, Rherras 6; Kitchen 6(Buaben 70, 3), Cowie 7 (Muirhead 81, 2), Nicholson 6, Watt 7, Djoum 6; Sammon 7 (Johnsen 74, 4) Substitutes not used: Noring, Ozturk, Nowak, Smith
(4-4-1-1): Fon Williams 5; Raven 4 (Horner 59, 4), Warren 6, Meekings 6, Tremarco 6, Mulraney 5 (Doran 64, 3), Draper 5, Tansey 5, Polworth 5; Vigurs 5; Boden 5 (Fisher 53, 3) Substitutes not used: Esson, Brown