For five or so minutes today we let Hearts into that game.
Starfelt, still looking a little nervous, still trying to adapt to what Ange wants to do, gave away a stupid penalty kick. When the ball nestled into the net they got their tails up for a spell.
But really, it wasn’t so much them sparking into a life as us allowing them a brief respite from having to deal with our relentless attacking football. Once we got the third we took the foot off the gas and off their throats.
I wish we hadn’t. We’d have scored six.
Still, we have a lot of games to come in this campaign and the players need to pace themselves a wee bit. If we took our foot off the accelerator a wee bit I can easily understand why. The pace we play at is extraordinary.
In that first half, Hearts simply couldn’t cope with it.
They tried to push us at the start of the second half, but that wasn’t without risks.
It was during their brief spell when we scored the third, which was always going to come. It would have come anyway. Hearts were simply overmatched today all over the pitch.
We ripped them to pieces in the first 45.
It was absolutely delightful to watch.
One thing will frustrate and anger Ange; the way we conceded that second goal. Starfelt, again, wasn’t as alert as he might have been. He lets the Hearts man get a slight edge on him. It dressed up what was, in fact, a bit of a doing. Defensively we still have work to do, and quite a bit of it … but going forward we are the irresistible force.
Look at the football we played. The first goal is magnificent. The third is glorious, and I’ll be writing later about why. Gordon stopped that turning into a cricket score.
On top of that, the tactics were spot on; on paper, it looks like the traditional 4-2-3-1 but Ange plays the two wide men in the middle and thus it plays more like a 4-3-3 … and it’s devastating.
We make more chances, and that’s why we’re scoring more goals. Several players look completely revitalised. Some look like entirely different footballers. It bodes well for us. It gives us genuine hope.
Even the squad looks stronger, when you see the guys who came off the bench today, including the long awaited James McCarthy appearance.
I want to pay tribute to two players. One will get a full article.
The other is Odsonne Edouard. He had his best game in a while today with a goal, an assist and forcing Gordon into a couple of good saves. I thought he was excellent.
His link up football was great, his positioning for the goal he scored was perfect. He could have won the man of the match award.
But the other guy did.
Our new super-star.
Kyogo is a wonderful player and that’s why he gets a piece all on his own.
He was the best player on the park by a mile.