B team

Match report: Hearts B 5-3 East Stirlingshire

05 April 2024

Hearts B ran out 5-3 over East Stirlingshire in a crazy 90 minutes at Ainslie Park to secure their seventh win in a row. 


Liam Fox made two changes to the side that saw off Gretna 2008 last time out. Luke Rathie missed out through injury, meanwhile Murray Thomas dropped to the bench, as Mackenzie Ross and Lennon Thompson came in to start.


It hadn’t been the liveliest of beginnings, but the Wee Jambos were gifted the opening goal after just 13 minutes. The visitors were trying to play out from the back and when the ball was returned to stopper Ollie Ecrepont, James Wilson was quick to press, and the ball ended up in the back of the net.


Liam McFarlane has been enjoying an excellent season between the sticks for Hearts and he again proved his worth on 21 minutes when a dangerous cross from Shaun Brown picked out Scott Honeyman at the back post, he looked destined to score, but McFarlane was quick off his line to narrow the angle and make himself big to deny him.


Just a minute later, the men in maroon went straight up the other end to double their lead. Callum Sandilands poked a dangerous cross into the box and with Wilson waiting to tap home his second, a last-ditch attempt to block the cross from Tony Coutts, saw the ball fly past Ecrepont and into the net.


The visitors would’ve felt incredibly hard done by to find themselves two goals behind, but instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they conjured up an immediate response. The Wee Jambos gave up possession in a dangerous area and Luke Rankin drove forward, before drilling the ball into the bottom corner on 24 minutes.


Hearts almost restored their two-goal cushion just after the half hour mark. A brilliant run down the left-wing from Gus Stevenson, eventually saw the ball pulled back to Sandilands, his effort looked destined for the bottom corner, but it was impressively cleared off the line by a Shire defender.


Just two minutes later, the visitors were back on level terms, Rankin again firing home a really smart finish to restore parity.


After an uneventful opening ten minutes, it was turning into quite a 45 and the Wee Jambos were back in front, four minutes before the break. McLuckie was again involved down the left, he swept in a wicked delivery for his opposite winger Mackenzie Ross, who took one touch to control, before firing past Ecrepont.


The goals just kept coming. Wilson bagged his second of the afternoon, when latching on to a ball down the right channel and from an outrageous angle, he lobbed Ecrepont to restore Hearts’ two-goal lead going into the break.


Half-time: Hearts 4-2 East Stirlingshire


The second half was always going to struggle to live up to the first, but just 11 minutes after the break, Rankin bagged his hat-trick to pull the visitors back within one.


But Hearts weren't to be denied and once again restored their two-goal cushion on the hour mark. A wonderful through ball from Sandilands sent Wilson through on goal, he unselfishly slid the ball across the face of goal for McLuckie, to roll the ball into the empty net.


Sandilands was denied by the offside flag and McLuckie almost added a sixth in the closing stages, but 5-3 was the way it finished as the Wee Jambos ensured their winning run continued.


Hearts: McFarlane, Dall, McLuckie, Wilson (Thomas, 60), Sandilands, Stevenson (Muirhead, 88), Gordon, Forrester © (Friel, 88), Smutek, Ross, Thompson (Gillies, 60)


Subs: McConnell, Thomas, Friel, Crookston, Gillies, Smith, Muirhead


East Stirlingshire: Ecrepont, Watrett, McLean, Campbell, Coutts, Gomis, Honeyman, Liddell, Murray, Rankin, Brown


Subs: Ure, Flynn, Inglis, Fotheringham, Tapping, Penker, Pyper