Match Centre: Hearts 1-0 Hull City
Hearts ran out winners against Hull in the final game ahead of the visit of Motherwell in the SPL opener at Tynecastle next Saturday.
Supporters showed up in their numbers to get a first glimpse at the team being built by Csaba Lsazlo. The opponents, Premiership newcomers Hull City, were two weeks away from the start of their own season but certainly did not prove that there was a gulf in class between the Barclays Premier League and the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Hearts were forced to play Andy Driver at left back due to an injury to Lee Wallace, with Jamie Mole starting up front and Palazuelos on the left wing.
Inside the first 10 minutes Larry Kingston threaded the ball through to Audrius Ksanavicius who controlled the ball well before curling in a shot from six yards out which went disappointingly wide.
Only 60 seconds later Hull found themselves with a free kick on the edge of the Hearts area and Geovannni unleashed a superb ball right down the throat of Steve Banks, who made a great save to keep the Hull midfielder at bay.
Michael Stewart and Larry Kingston were in the heart of the action and Kingston in particular linked up well on more than one occasion with Ksanavicius. Jamie Mole also looked as though he was reaping the rewards of a good pre-season as he chased around and put himself about the field.
Hull earned another free kick and this time it was left back Andy Dawson, older brother of Tottenham and England defender Michael Dawson, who stepped up and curled the ball goalward this time however Banks had it covered all the way and watched it sail high over the bar.
The breakthrough came for Hearts on 32 minutes and it came essentially out of nothing but hard work. After winning the ball back, Mole fed Jason Thomson who curled a ball into the penalty box which Eggert Jonsson leapt to meet. It drifted over his head, but fell into the path of Palazuelos, who whipped in an inch perfect cross for Ksanavicius who rose and headed the ball low into Myhill's bottom left hand corner from about eight yards out.
Hearts emerged unchanged at half time and Hull made one change, which saw the introduction of Dean Windass. His substitution was met by boos from the Hearts fans but all was forgiven when Windass turned and waved to the Wheatfield stand. Good to see that he is still as cheeky as ever.
Hull came close to the equaliser on 53 minutes through another free kick. Again it was the Brazilian Geovanni who blasted a shot which looked to be heading into the top right hand corner however much the same as before Banks stepped up to push the ball wide and then caught the follow up from former Liverpool man Nick Barmby.
18-year-old Johnny Brown earnt a maroon debut at left back which would be another option for Hearts when Wallace is not available. Driver pushed up to his favoured position as a result of Brown's introduction.
It took Hearts a little longer to really get going in the second half but again the work rate was always there. Zaliukas and Berra looked solid at the back and the few times that Banks was called on he was unbeatable. Jason Thomson also impressed with a display, which showed maturity beyond his years.
Hearts came close to a second on 81 minutes with a snapshot from Andy Driver from the edge of the area. Myhill however saw it all the way and in the end it was an easy save for the Hull goalkeeper.
Young Ryan Wallace was keen to get on the score-sheet and pinged a few from around the field whenever he got a chance. His most noteworthy was a drilled effort from around 20 yards out which almost caught out the Hull goalkeeper but ended up trickling wide.
All in all the second half was your typical pre-season friendly but Hearts could take a lot from their performance and indeed their work effort throughout the match. They certainly were worth the win and now all eyes look ahead to the season opener as we all hope the Jambos get off to a flyer.
Hearts: Banks; Thomson (Ivaskevivius 80), Zaliukas, Berra, Driver (Cesnauskis 88); Kingston (R Wallace 86), Stewart, Jonsson (Karipidis 58), Palazuelos (Brown 46); Ksanavicius (Mikoliunas 71); Mole (Makela 79). Subs not used: MacDonald, Rapnik, McGowan.
Hull City: Myhill; Ricketts, Gardiner, Turner, Dawson (Cooper 85); Marney Hughes 80), Boateng (Fagan 60), Ashbee (France 85), Barmby (Halmosi 64); Geovanni (Garcia 69); Folan (Windass 45). Subs not used: Doyle, Duke.
Referee: Calum Murray