B Team return with Gala win04 January 2023
After several weeks off thanks to waterlogged pitches, Steven Naismith’s side made a roaring return to Lowland League action. Bobby McLuckie drew first blood after five minutes before strikes from Callum Sandilands and Murray Thomas, either side of half-time, wrapped up the points.
It was a pitch perfect start to proceedings when McLuckie, back in the team after qualifying for the Under-17s Euros with Scotland, knocked the ball past Ryan Kidd for his eight strike of the season.
Hearts were bold and inventive, restricting the Borders side’s ability to move the ball with aggressive pressing right from the start. Callum Sandilands thought he had a second on the ten-minute mark, but the linesman’s flag chopped it off.
Thomas and McLuckie had further chances, but Sandilands finally broke through the Gala rear-guard on the stroke of half-time, hoovering up a delightful through-ball before guiding it home past Kidd with laser precision.
The second half was a slightly cagier affair, with Gala showing more resilience on the ball as they looked to build themselves back into the game. Hearts still had the bit between their teeth though, and the third and final goal of the afternoon arrived on 65 minutes.
In a sensational move sparked by some wonderful play from Finlay Pollock – Hearts swept up the park with daring speed and composure. Pollock ran all the way, effortlessly gliding past the Gala defence before cutting back for Murray Thomas.
Taking the slightest of touches to compose himself, Thomas brilliantly stroked the ball past Kidd to make it three and easy for Hearts.
Gala kept pushing but Hearts held on with real skill – substitute Kai Smutek making a perfectly timed clearance in the box ten minutes from time to underline Gala’s luckless day in front of goal.
Hearts B: McFarlane, Dall (Smutek 45’), Rathie, Forrester, Gordon, McLuckie (Kirk 61’), Pollock (Duncan 71’), Tait, Nair, Sandilands, (Ross 79’) Thomas (Hambrook 79’)
Subs: Stone, Kirk, Smutek, Hambrook, Trialist, Ross, Duncan