Match Report: Hearts 4-0 Europa FC

07 January 2022

The Jambos put four past the side from Gibraltar without reply, with Gary Mackay-Steven, Euan Henderson and an Alan Forrest brace sealing victory in the baking Costa del Sol heat.

Hearts attacked from the off, with Henderson creating space for himself at the edge of the box before dragging a shot just wide.

Only eight minutes in, it was 1-0. Connor Smith pounced on a loose pass to drive into the Europa half, allowing Henderson to slip in Mackay-Steven, who took a touch into the box before firing low and past the goalkeeper, into the back of the net.

A well-worked corner kick routine saw Smith lift a shot over the bar from distance, before Henderson fired over from close range after getting on the end of Alex Cochrane’s cross.

Josh Ginnelly then played a defence-splitting pass for Henderson to get into the box but he could only hit the side netting.

The final act of the first half saw Stephen Kingsley send a set piece over the bar, as a much-changed Hearts side emerged for the second 45.

New signings Forrest and Jorge Grant combined, with the latter sending an effort wide from outside the box.

Grant was involved in the Jambos’ second goal, cutting inside to find Liam Boyce, who picked out the unmarked Forrest inside the box and he blasted beyond the keeper to double the men in maroon’s lead.

It was one-way traffic, with Boyce seeing a shot blocked behind and McEneff dinking to the back door for McKay but his shot flew across the goal and the sliding Boyce couldn’t connect.

Forrest was then denied by the Europa goalkeeper before Hearts made it three. Boyce was taken out at the edge of the box but McEneff’s pass still found Henderson, who took a touch away from the keeper before rolling into the net.

The fourth was the icing on the cake. Barrie McKay nutmegged his man before playing a one-two via the back heel of McEneff, slipping Forrest into the box and he fired high into the net.

McEneff, McKay and Henderson all had opportunities in the closing stages to add more goals, but it finished a comprehensive 4-0 in the Jambos’ favour as Robbie Neilson’s side bid farewell to sunny Spain.

First half: Stewart, M. Smith, Neilson, Sibbick, Kingsley, Cochrane, Devlin, C. Smith, Ginnelly, Mackay-Steven, Henderson.

Second half: Stone, Forrest, Neilson, Haring, Halliday, C. Smith, Grant, McEneff, Henderson, McKay, Boyce.