Football: Flogel with a flourish

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The Independent Online
Heart of Midlothian 2

Cameron pen 45, Flogel 68

Motherwell 0

Attendance: 12,706

Hearts may not have emulated the Springboks, but they are continuing to put distance between themselves and the rest.

While South Africa were routing Scotland's rugby side just a quarter of a mile away at Murrayfield, Jim Jefferies' leaders of the pack were stretching their advantage in the Premier League by comfortably beating Motherwell at Tynecastle.

Colin Cameron's vital penalty in first-half injury time, coupled with a splendid 67th-minute goal from Thomas Flogel gave at least one part of Edinburgh's sporting fraternity a chance to hold its head high last night.

No matter that Rangers might eat into that four-point gap by winning today at home to Hibernian. Hearts have another chance to stretch it again on Tuesday when they play Dundee United, before the acid test of their title ambitions: back-to- back games with the Old Firm.

Celtic, whom Hearts must visit next Saturday, slipped further behind by drawing at Kilmarnock, but buoyant Jefferies believes his side are romping on without even worrying about their rivals from Glasgow.

"That is the best we have played all season," declared the Hearts manager. "We were streets ahead of Motherwell, who have given other clubs problems in recent weeks."

Motherwell had indeed defeated Celtic and drawn with Rangers last month but their rigorous pressing game came unstuck as Hearts pressurised them before half-time. Five yellow cards were handed out, the last to Kevin Christie, for fouling Cameron in the 36th minute which was to prove costly.

Just minutes before the interval Cameron squandered a great chance but was given the chance to atone soon afterwards when Christie pushed David Weir. The defender was sent off and Cameron beat goalkeeper Steve Woods from the spot. Hearts sealed the points midway through the second half when Flogel struck his sweet shot.