First half strikes from Callum Sandilands and Makenzie Kirk were enough to see Hearts B defeat Celtic B 2-1 at Ainslie Park.
Following the midweek thrashing of Berwick Rangers, manager Liam Fox made just the one change for the visit of the young Hoops, as Ethan Drysdale replaced Bailey Dall at left back.
The Wee Jambos have been playing some excellent football this season but given the wet and windy conditions created by Storm Babet, there was an element of the unknown about what to expect on the pitch.
It was the men in maroon who struck first after just four minutes. Hearts’ wingers have been so effective this season and when Murray Thomas got to the byline down the right, his pull back was tucked away smartly at the front post by Callum Sandilands to open the scoring.
In truth, it wasn’t the liveliest of beginnings, despite the goal, with both sides happy to pick and choose their moments to press. It was the Jam Tarts who were dominating the ball however, and they were given the perfect opportunity to double their advantage on 17 minutes when Makenzie Kirk was brought down in the box.
As he has done so often this season, he dusted himself down and kept a cool head to slam the ball past Kai McLean and double Hearts’ advantage.
The men in maroon were very comfortable as half-time approached, but the visitors were given a spot-kick of their own, two minutes before the interval. Kenzi Nair was adjudged to have fouled his man and Mackenzie Carse stepped up to halve the deficit.
Into the second half and perhaps unsurprisingly, the visitors had their tails up following that late first half goal. Celtic saw a lot more of the ball in the opening 15 minutes after the break, but Liam McFarlane in the Hearts goal remained fairly untroubled.
Having weathered that mini storm, the Wee Jambos got themselves back on the front foot and really ought to have put the game to bed before the 90 minutes were up.
The men in maroon continued to get joy on the flanks and just like for the opening goal, Thomas got past his man and whipped in a delicious delivery but this time there were no takers waiting to tap home inside the six-yard box.
Into the final ten minutes and Hearts continued to push for the goal that would wrap up all three points. The short corner worked wonders for the Jambos against Berwick Rangers last time out and it very nearly did so again. Sandilands’ effort from the edge of the box was redirected in front of goal by Kirk, it looked goalbound but it was blocked virtually on the line and hacked to safety by a green and white shirt.
Kai McLean then produced an excellent piece of goalkeeping to deny Kirk on more than one occasion after a goalmouth scrambled ensued five minutes from time.
Despite not finding the third goal, the Wee Jambos saw out the five minutes of stoppage time professionally and held on to pick up a deserved three points.
Hearts: McFarlane, McLuckie (Dall, 90), Sandilands, Kirk, Thomas (Ross, 70), Gordon, Nair, Drysdale, Forrester, Duncan, Rathie ©
Subs: McConnell, Dall, Smutek, Ross, Chisholm, Crookston, Walker
Celtic: McLean, Bonetig, Frame, Robertson, Agbaire, McArdle, Davidson, Carse ©, Dobbie, Kelly, Thomson,
Subs: Morrison, Mackenzie, Ferns, Turley, Haddow, Bonnar