Queen of the South 0-0 Hearts
Queen of the South 0-0 Heart of Midlothian
Hearts survived a Queen of the South onslaught to leave Palmerston Park with a share of the spoils this afternoon.
Despite coming under heavy pressure, the Jambos emerged from the match with a 0-0 draw, though they have Mark Ridgers to thank for keeping them in the game.
Gary Locke made two changes to the side that thumped Raith Rovers 5-0 in midweek. Ridgers made his first start of pre-season, in the place of Jamie Macdonald, and Jordan McGhee was deployed at right back with Jamie Hamill pushed into midfield at the expense of Scott Robinson.
Hearts kicked off proceedings, played on Queens' brand new astro-turf pitch, but it was the home side that had the first real chance of the match after eight minutes. A long diagonal ball was knocked down to Paul Burns on the edge of the box, and his half volley flew just past Ridgers' left hand post.
Hearts went close on 15 minutes. Billy King spun his man on the edge of the Queens box and played in Jamie Walker, whose angled shot flew just wide of the far post.
Ridgers was called into action after 19 minutes when he got down to parry Daniel Carmichael's long range shot round the post, though the big highlander may feel aggrieved at not keeping the ball in play.
Three minutes later he redeemed himself with a superb point-blank diving save to block from Derek Lyle's close range shot.
Kevin Holt almost produced a moment of magic for the home side on the half hour mark. From a corner, he pulled off a spectacular overhead kick from that missed Ridgers' crossbar by inches.
The home side were in firm control when Lyle headed Chris Mithcell's free-kick just wide of the post on 35 minutes, as the Jambos struggled to regain a foothold of the game.
It was Ridgers to the rescue after 40 minutes when he made a stunning one-handed save to tip the ball over the bar from Chris Higgins' header. From the resultant corner, Queens rattled the crossbar.
Gary Locke made three changes at half time, with Scott Robinson, Jason Holt and Dale Carrick coming on for Hamill, Billy King and David Smith. However the home side started the second period exactly how they finished the first. A long ball into the Hearts six yard box saw an unmarked Lyle take a heavy first touch, which allowed Ridgers to smother the ball at his feet on the goal-line.
Injury cut short Jamie Walker's afternoon, he was replaced by Sam Nicholson after 58 minutes.
Ridgers cemented his position as Hearts' man of the match with another fine save after 70 minutes, this time with his feet from a point blank Carmichael shot.
Hearts did manage to create a chance in the second half when Nicholson burst down the right flank and crossed for Carrick but his header ballooned over the crossbar.
Queens continued to look for the breakthrough and nearly got it but Ridgers was again on-hand to deny Carmichael, this time from a rasping 30 yard shot. Moments earlier, Callum Paterson had replaced Ryan Stevenson for his first Hearts appearance in seven months.
Adam King replaced Jordan McGhee in the last real moment of note in the second half, as the match finished all square.
A brilliant and testing workout, the Jambos can now look forward to next week's Belfast Tournament.
Queen of the South: Trialist, Mitchell (Orsi, 70'), Holt (McSHane, 70'), Trailist, Dowie (Russell, 60'), Higgins (Slattery, 70'), McKenna (McGuffie, 60'), Burns (Young, 60'), Lyle (Reilly, 60'), Paton (Durnan, 60'), Carmichael. Subs not used: Atkinson.
Hearts: Ridgers; McGhee (A.King, 82'), McGowan, McKay, McHattie (Naysmith, 70'); Hamill (Robinson, 46'), Walker, Tapping; B.King (Carrick, 46'), Stevenson (Paterson, 79'), Smith (Holt, 46'). Subs not used: Macdonald, Oliver, Gordon, Nicholson.
Referee: Euan Norris
Top man: Mark Ridgers
Today on HeartsTV - EXCLUSIVE post-match reaction from Gary Locke and Billy King.