Writer: Arab Jacques
Date:Saturday December 23 2006
Dundee United's Hartley hoodoo continued this afternoon, after the midfielder returned to the Hearts starting line-up and scored against United for the 4th consecutive match between the two sides.
Hartley capitalised on a controversial penalty award by referee Charlie Richmond in the 55th minute, when he judged that Stuart Duff had used an arm inside the box - much to the protests of the Dundee United players.
The 30-year-old has now scored 3 penalties in the last 3 matches against United, and it was another well struck spot kick into the bottom-right hand corner that stole all 3 points for the visitors, putting them into a 1-0 lead after 10minutes of the 2nd half.
Craig Levein made 4 changes to the United side which beat Motherwell 3-2 at Fir Park, with defender Steven Robb replacing the suspended Christian Kalvenes and David Goodwillie in for the Noel Hunt who is out for several weeks with an ankle injury.
Alan Archibald & David McCracken were also dropped from the starting line-up, with Garry Kenneth returning to the team along with Stuart Duff.
Although, it was the Hearts side that stole most of the pre-match headlines, after it was announced that goalkeeper Craig Gordon was being dropped to the bench because of the flu - with many Hearts supporters left wondering whether Romanov was punishing the Scottish keeper for his part in Steven Pressley's outburst against the club's owner last month.
Hearts manager Valdas Ivanauskas made a total of 6 changes to the side which was beaten 1-0 by Aberdeen at Tynecastle, with Nerijus Barasa, Craig Gordon, Ibrahim Tall, Jose Goncalves, Neil McCann & Edgaras Jankauskas all dropped for the team - replaced by Steven Banks, Paul Hartley, Andrew Driver, Christophe Berra, Michal Pospisil & Robbie Neilson.
Dundee United have won all of their last 4 home matches since the arrival of Craig Levein at the start of November, and would have won 5 in-a-row if it wasn't for the crossbar and an inspired performance from the Hearts goalkeeper.
Click here for full match report
Date:Saturday December 23 2006
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|St. Johnstone||3||-||0||Dundee United|
|St. Mirren||4||-||1||Dundee United|
|Dundee United||1||-||0||Ross County|
|4. Dundee United||33||15||9||9||16||54|
|6. St. Johnstone||33||14||6||13||7||48|
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