“We didn’t do much wrong, dominated for spells and created enough chances to win two games but ended up being the losing team. I am both frustrated and disappointed as it was match we should have won.”
These were the after-match comments of Royal Albert manager Dean Shanks following Royalists’ 1-0 defeat away to Tynecastle on Saturday.
And the Albert team boss couldn’t have summed it up better, as Royalists did play well and did have the upper hand for periods. This was to be of no avail, however, as the Hawick outfit just could not find the net.
The Albert simply squandered scoring opportunities galore and paid the penalty big time.
In an encounter that was switched from Tyneastle’s Saughton Enclosure ground to Heriot-Watt University’s 3G pitch at Riccarton Campus, the Albert’s painful day began in the second minute.
In a sweeping raid, Josh Morris cut in from the right before unleashing an angled drive that looked net-bound until being finger-tipped away by diving Tynecastle keeper Ross McMullen.
Within minutes of this, Gavin Pettigrew should have broke the deadlock but fired straight at McMullen when in the clear.
Looking the likelier side, Royalists continued to push forward and Alieu Faye found the net with a header on meeting a Ryan Stevenson cross but his effort was chalked off for offside.
After Albert keeper Kyle Rankin had saved well from Michael Catlin, Faye failed to find the target from a Fergus Lockhart throw-in.
Minutes later, McMullen pulled off a superb stop when keeping out a flicked Morris shot from close range following a Stevenson cross.
Tynecastle began to come more into the picture after this and in the 39th minute sailed into the lead when Stewart Adams found the net with a free-kick.
A minute from the interval, Tynecastle were reduced to ten men when Scott Coleman was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Stewart Crozier.
The Edinburgh side were the first to look like scoring following the interval through a Ryan Malcolm effort.
Royalists came rallying back and the in-form McMullen put up the shutters again when pushing a Morris shot round the post at full stretch.
Ten-man Tynecastle then showed what they had to offer and Catlin hit the top of the upright with a chipped shot, before Dean Crabbe was thwarted by a Rankin save.
In a raid at the other end, Faye fluffed a golden opportunity by blasting a cross from new signing Andrew Laidlaw well over the bar.
Man-of-the-match McMullen, in turn, continued to perform heroics in the Tynecastle goal in twisting in mid-air to save a deflected Robert Boyd shot.
From here on the Edinburgh outfit were under the cosh. But although the Albert were on top, the chances that then fell their way were not taken.
Shanks added: “Even when Tynecastle had 11 players on the park I thought we were the better side. However, if you can’t score goals you don’t win games. It’s as simple as that.”
Hawick Royal Albert: K. Rankin, F. Lockhart, S. Crozier, R. Boyd, M. McEwan, D. Johnson, R. Stevenson, B. Wales, J. Morris, A. Faye, G. Pettigrew. Subs: M. Lynch, A. Laidlaw, J. Gilberton.