Stenhousemuir 1-2 Heart of Midlothian
Hearts secured passage into the third round of the Scottish League Cup, with a hard-fought win over Stenhousemuir at Ochilview Park this evening.
First-half goals from Gary Oliver and Kevin McHattie proved enough to earn victory for the Edinburgh side, which made seven changes from the team that routed Raith Rovers on Saturday.
The Jambos got off to the best possible start when David Smith's cross found Oliver unmarked in the area after six minutes, the young striker dispatching the ball past Greg Fleming into the net.
Oliver nearly doubled the scoreline three minutes later, but Fleming was equal to his lobbed effort. The ball came back to Hearts and James Keatings raced through, but Fleming got down well to keep the ball out.
Stenhousemuir enjoyed some good possession without ever really threatening, and they were made to pay for not making their dominance count. Jamie Walker played McHattie through on goal, and the full-back kept his cool by winning the battle of wits with Fleming and passing it into the net.
Out of the blue, however, Stenny pulled a goal back. Hearts lost the ball in midfield and, following a counter attack, the ball broke to Kieran Miller six yards out, the midfielder making no mistake from close range.
Into the second half, and Hearts somehow failed to add to their tally. Oliver missed a header from close range, then Osman Sow - on for the injured Keatings - volleyed just past the post from Robinson's free kick.
In the space of three minutes, Hearts had four clear cut chances to score. Sow and Smith were both denied by superb close-range saves, then Sow headed against the bar before Walker broke into the area and was denied yet again by the outstanding Fleming.
Hearts had the clearest chance yet to put the match to bed, as Sow performed an outrageous piece of skill on the touchline, bamboozling his marker. He squared it to Walker, who conspired to put the ball over the bar with the goal gaping.
Despite a great effort from the Warriors, however, Hearts held firm to book their place into the third round.
Stenhousemuir: Fleming, Meechan, Greacen, McMillan, Summers, Hodge, Dickson (Lithgow, 46'), Miller (Sludden, 76'), Grehan, Faulds, Millar (McMenamin, 46'). Subs: Duncan, Watt, Reid, Shaw.
Hearts: Hollis, McHattie (Eckersley, 88'), Walker, Robinson, Holt, D. Smith, Oliver, Keatings (Sow, 38'), McKay (Gordon, 30'), L. Smith, McGhee. Subs: Halliwell, El Hassnaoui, King, Roy.
Referee: Calum Murray
Top man: Liam Smith
Today on HeartsTV - EXCLUSIVE post-match reaction from Robbie Neilson.