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Saturday, 21 September, 2002, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Hearts humble United
De Vries was on target in the second half
Mark De Vries grabbed his eighth goal of the season
Hearts 2-0 Dundee United

Hearts continued their excellent start to the season with a comfortable win over Dundee United at Tyncastle.

The goals came from summer signings Jean-Louis Valois and Mark De Vries, with the tall striker who arrived from Dutch football bagging his eighth goal of the campaign.

The match had been an even contest before Valois struck, but the goal energised the home side and the men in maroon dominated the rest of proceedings.

United battled gamely and created a few good chances but once again looked rather weak in attack.

The match started at a whirlwind pace with both sides guilty of a few over zealous tackles in a frantic opening.

United had the bulk of possession in the early exchanges, but struggled to engineer any clear chances against a defence well-organised by Steven Pressley.

Hearts were first to threaten when Stuart Duff's por clearance fell to Scott Severin but the midfielder dragged his shot wide of target from 14 yards.

United responded in positive fashion and Steven Thompson drilled a crisp drive straight into the grateful arms of Hearts keeper Roddy McKenzie.

Allan Smart takes on Steven Pressley
Steven Pressley was solid for Hearts
Charlie Miller was next to threaten for the visitors but duffed his shot from a good position following a clever one-two with Derek Lilley.

With 26 minutes gone Hearts went in front. A Steven Boyack cross from the right was totally missed by the unmarked Mark DeVries right in front of goal, but Valois ghosted saved his team-mate's blushes and sent a low drive home from 10 yards.

The French goalscorer was at the centre of most of the home side's good work and his clever flicks and touches had the home fans of their feet.

From two pin-point Miller deliveries, Thompson and Craig Easton both sent excellent headed chances wide of McKenzie's goal as United continued to press.

Valois created a terrific opening for Andy Kirk in the 50th minute when his reverse pass gave the youngster a clear sight of goal, but the striker hit the side-netting from a tight angle after rounding Gallacher.

Five minutes later De Vries managed to find the net when he met Boyack's deep corner and his volley was adjudged to have crossed the line by the assistant referee despite a frantic clearance by the United defence.

Only a marvellous save from Gallacher denied Hearts a third goal after 67 minutes when Kirk's powerful header from a precise Paul McMullan was superbly stopped.

Hearts: McKenzie, Maybury, Pressley, McKenna, McMullan, Boyack, Stamp, Severin, Valois, de Vries (Wales 81), Kirk.
Subs Not Used: Gordon, Webster, McCann, McGeown.

Booked: de Vries.

Dundee United: Gallacher, Wilson, Duff, Lauchlan, McGowne, Cummings, Easton, Griffin, Miller (Paterson 62), Lilley (Smart 65), Thompson.
Subs Not Used: Jarvie, McCraken.

Booked: Cummings, Thompson, Griffin.

Attendance: 11,532
Referee: S Dougal

BBC Scotland's Paul Mitchell
"Dundee United had their chances"
Hearts manager Craig Levein
"It was an extremely tough match"
The SPL season gets under way

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