Wee Jambos too strong for Kilby

22 March 2023

Four changes were made to the side that faced Cowdenbeath seven days prior, as Trialist, Kai Smutek, Harry Stone and Kenzi Nair, replaced Bobby McLuckie, Liam McFarlane, Callum Flatman and Makenzie Kirk.

It was the Wee Jambos who struck first after just eight minutes, as Murray Thomas cut in off the left and found the bottom corner, after excellent play from Smutek to pick him out with a perfect diagonal switch.

East Kilbride responded well and looked dangerous from set plays. Stone was called into action twice in quick succession midway through the half, firstly, to deny Kyle Connell’s stinging volley and from the resulting corner, he got down well to his right to smother a close-range header.

The men in maroon squandered a huge chance to double their lead on the break, seven minutes from the interval, a poor free kick from the visitors sent Harry Gordon charging forward, he played a perfectly weighted pass for Macaulay Tait, but he took a heavy touch, allowing Max Currie to smother.

Tait made amends four minutes later though with a positive run down the right channel, he got to the byline before cutting the ball back for Callum Sandilands, who was in the right place to tap home and ensure the Wee Jambos had a comfortable lead at the break.

The visitors had looked dangerous from set plays all game and it gave them a route back into the game three minutes into the second half after a bit of pinball in the Hearts box, Neil McLaughlan forced the ball over the line.

The men in maroon restored their two-goal cushion ten minutes later from the penalty spot. Thomas had been lively all game and his deep cross found Forrester, who was clearly tripped and it was Thomas who stepped up, sending the ball high into the roof of the net to grab his second and Hearts’ third of the evening.

In truth, the game went a bit flat after that. The visitors made plenty of substitutions in an attempt to get back into the game, but the Wee Jambos dealt with everything Kilby threw at them and added a fourth, five minutes from the end.

Adam Forrester had been a threat down the right all game and after being slipped in by Tait, he picked out Sandilands in the box, who added his second and Hearts’ fourth to put the seal on a dominant Hearts display.

Hearts: Stone, Tait ©, Trialist (Ross, 71), Sandilands (Hambrook, 88), Thomas, Dall, Gordon (Duncan, 88), Smutek, Forrester (Trialist, 88), Rathie, Nair

Subs: McFarlane, Trialist, Walker, Hambrook, Trialist, Ross, Duncan

East Kilbride: Currie, MacDonald, Peacock, Morgan, Macbeth, Connor, R. Hughes ©, McLaughlan, Connell, B. Hughes, Docherty

Subs: McLean, Taylor, Coll, McDonald, Miller, McHugh, McGuire