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Hearts 0-1 Falkirk

By Thomas McGuigan

Steve Lovell heads Falkirk in front
Steve Lovell scored the only goal of a bad-tempered cup tie at Tynecastle

Steve Lovell's header sent Hearts tumbling out of the Scottish Cup as Falkirk secured victory in a game with two red cards at Tynecastle.

Hearts twice went close in the first half through striker Gary Glen.

Lovell made Hearts pay in 59 minutes with a looping header over goalkeeper Janos Balogh.

Andrew Driver appealed in vain for a penalty after Dean Holden's tackle before Marius Zaliukas and Bairns midfielder Scott Arfield both saw red.

The hosts started in impressive fashion with Driver looking dangerous as former Jambos Steven Pressley and Neil McCann looked to knock their old side out of the cup.

Midfielder David Obua found himself in acres of space after 13 minutes, but his 25-yard shot drifted harmlessly wide of Dani Mallo's goal.

Driver tore through Falkirk's defence nine minutes later and his clever cut-back was fired just wide by Glen.

Falkirk's first real attempt on goal came seven minutes from the break and could have been a disaster for Hearts goalkeeper Janos Balogh.

The Hungarian keeper came to claim Dean Holden's high cross into the box, but completely mistimed his leap and Falkirk striker Michael Higdon's header slipped wide of the right-hand post.

Mallo saves superbly to deny Glen after a flowing Hearts move which saw Robbie Neilson cut a great ball back from the right and the keeper tipped the forward's fizzing drive over the bar.

After the break, the hosts continued where they had left off and forced Falkirk to remain camped in their own half.

Hearts striker Gary Glen tussles for the ball with Jackie McNamara
Hearts striker Gary Glen tussles for the ball with Jackie McNamara

But the home supporters were stunned when Lovell gave Falkirk a surprise lead in the 58th minute.

Zaliukas failed to clear Lee Bullen's cross properly and from McNamara's high ball back into the box, Lovell peeled away to head the ball over the despairing Balogh.

A minute later and Driver looked to have earned Hearts a penalty when he tumbled under Holden's challenge.

But, after consulting his assistant, referee Dougie McDonald awarded a corner - much to the anger of the Hearts fans.

The Tynecastle side's hopes of finding an equaliser suffered a blow when defender Zaliukas was sent-off after wrestling Carl Finnigan to the ground as the Falkirk man bore down on goal.

It was Hearts' eighth red card of the season and summed up a miserable day for the Jambos.

Falkirk midfielder Arfield was then sent off for his second bookable offence after chopping down Obua, and Kingston failed to make his free-kick count after Pressley was yellow carded for a crude challenge on Michael Stewart.

Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo:

"I'm sorry for our supporters and my team. We created a lot of chances today but we couldn't score. We must now concentrate on the league.

"It's clear we don't have offsides anymore."

Falkirk manager John Hughes:

"They were spirited, resolute and every ball that came into the box met a Falkirk head.

"I'm pleased for big Elvis and Neil McCann, coming back to their old stomping ground.

"Hearts were the better team in the first half. But after that we were always on the front foot."

Hearts: Balogh, Neilson, Zaliukas, Karipidis, Lee Wallace, Obua, Aguiar, Stewart, Driver, Glen (Elliot 66), Jonsson (Kingston 61). Subs Not Used: Kello, Thomson, Mrowiec.

Sent Off: Zaliukas (82).

Booked: Driver, Stewart.

Falkirk: Dani Mallo, Bullen, Pressley, Barr, McNamara (Cregg 87), Arfield, Riera (Finnigan 56), McCann (O'Brien 87), Holden, Lovell, Higdon. Subs Not Used: Olejnik, Stewart.

Sent Off: Arfield (90).

Booked: Arfield, Riera, Finnigan, McCann, Pressley, Higdon.

Goals: Lovell 59.

Att: 14,569

Ref: D McDonald

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Falkirk's Steven Pressley 8.00 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Scottish Cup as it happened
07 Feb 09 |  Scottish Cups

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