Match Report: Hearts 4-1 Dundee Utd

14 August 2022

Lawrence Shankland, Barrie McKay,Jorge Grant and Josh Ginnelly were on target for the Jambos – with Steven Fletcher’s 70th minute penalty proving to be scant consolation for the visitors from Tayside.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson made a single change from the side that was held at Easter Road last week, with Cammy Devlin coming into the side in place of Peter Haring.
Backed by a boisterous Tynecastle crowd, the boys in maroon sliced United open with just under a minute on the clock. Alan Forrest’s mazy run eventually picked out a lingering Cammy Devlin by the by-line. The Aussie gratefully hoovered up the ball, before whipping it across the face of goal for Lawrence Shankland to smash past Mark Birigihitti – our number nine’s second Premiership goal in as many weeks.
The Terrors were reeling from the early start, and some nervous defending nearly allowed Jorge Grant to extend Hearts’ lead just minutes later with an exasperated Charlie Mulgrew eventually clearing the ball from United’s area.
Mulgrew’s slack pass at the other end of the park was ruthlessly pickpocketed by Hearts, with Barrie McKay running near-enough the full length of the park – the wide man went one-on-one but dragged his shot narrowly wide of the far post.
A clumsy challenge from Matthew Cudjoe on the left edge of the box presented Hearts with a fine opportunity from close-range; with Jorge Grant’s dipping effort prompting a fingertips save from the United ‘keeper.
It was relentless stuff from the Jam Tarts, with the only tangible sense of frustration stemming from the knowledge that it could easily have been a far greater lead for Hearts. Glenn Middleton went close to making the Jambos pay, his quick ball across goal was poked out of play at the last minute by the foot of Craig Halkett.
Barrie McKay was at the heart of events as usual; it was his deft footwork and control that sent Cammy Devlin through on Birighitti on the half-hour mark – with the two Aussies clattering into each other, contesting the ball, to no avail. With chances at a premium, the fate of the match would be decided in the next 45.
With the new half barely a few minutes old, Hearts soon grabbed the decisive second goal. Barrie McKay, now deployed on the left wing, assessed his options from 25-yards out; weighing up briefly before sending a cushioned effort into the bottom right corner for another trademark moment of McKay magic.
Hearts couldn’t completely rest on their laurels, and Kye Rowles was forced to make a brilliant challenge to cut out a Harkes effort inside the box – with Jack Ross soon introducing reinforcements from the bench in Steven Fletcher and Craig Sibbald.
The men in maroon, by now, were on the march, and the third goal promptly arrived on the 62nd minute. Michael Smith did extremely well to get a shot off at Birighitti under pressure, with Jorge Grant pouncing on the rebound to tap into an empty net.
United would pull one back after 70 minutes. Steven Fletcher sent a penalty past Craig Gordon after Mackay-Steven was judged by referee Colin Steven to have felled Aziz Behich in the box, with some unhappy protests from the Hearts bench.
It was Fletcher who would provide the next big chance for United, but his shot from a tight angle on the edge of the box could only ripple Craig Gordon’s side netting in injury time.

Josh Ginnelly then added a fourth in the dying embers of the match to ensure Hearts walked away happily with all three points.
Hearts: Gordon, M. Smith, Halkett, Rowles, Cochrane (Kingsley 75’), Grant (Halliday 76’), Devlin, Forrest (Mackay-Steven 57’), McKay (Ginnelly 76’), Boyce (Haring 57’), Shankland
Subs: Stewart, Kingsley, Haring, Mackay-Steven, Atkinson, Halliday, Neilson, Sibbick, Ginnelly
Dundee Utd: Birighitti, L. Smith, Mulgrew (Sibbald 52’), Graham, Edwards, Middleton, Behich, McGrath, Harkes, Cudjoe (Fletcher 52’), Watt
Subs: Eriksson, McMann, Niskanen, Fletcher, Clark, Sibbald, Meekison, Freeman, Fotheringham
Attendance: 18,856