Heart of Midlothian 1-1 Dundee United
Friday 12th July 2019, KO 19:45 | Betfred Cup | Tynecastle Park
Hearts began their competitive 2019/20 season with a penalty shootout victory following a 1-1 draw under the floodlights at a drenched Tynecastle Park as Dundee United visited in the opening match of the Betfred Cup group stage.
Andy Irving levelled for Hearts after falling behind to a Lawrence Shankland header, before the match was decided on a penalty shootout for a bonus point.
There were places in the side for new signings Connor Washington and Jamie Walker in an attacking formation, while young stars Aaron Hickey and Andy Irving also made the starting XI.
The visitors took the lead early on when an ia through ball was partially cleared by Christophe Berra, allowing Sam Stanton to dribble into the box and cross for Lawrence Shankland to head home from inside the six yard box.
Hearts responded positively, however, creating a plethora of chances soon thereafter. Walker played a lovely back heel to Washington at the edge of the box, and the forward drove into the box but drove his shot wide.
Uche Ikpeazu then played a lovely slide rule pass through to Walker, who burst into the area but the winger’s shot was straight at keeper Benjamin Siegrist.
Washington then had the best chance so far after Jake Mulraney beat Liam Smith on the wing and curled a lovely ball into the area, but the striker got caught under the ball and headed over the bar.
The equaliser Hearts were chasing did soon arrive, as Sean Clare’s free kick was only partially cleared to the edge of the area where it was met by a crisp volley from Irving, the ball skidding off the turf and into the bottom corner as the midfielder scored his first Hearts goal.
Into the second half, and United had a good chance very soon following kick-off. Paul McMullan beat the offside trap and crossed for the onrushing Sam Stanton, who could only scoop the ball over the bar.
Ikpeazu then used his strength outside the area to turn his marker, but his shot from 20 yards was drilled too close to Siegrist.
With quarter of an hour remaining, the game exploded into life again. The ball bounced around the Hearts area and fell to Nicky Clark, who had an open goal in front of him but conspired to somehow chip the ball wide of the post.
Then, at the other end, a Clare corner was headed on by Berra at the front post to sub Dario Zanatta, whose flicked header went just past the post.
Following this, a ball down the middle of the park resulted in Irvin falling on the ball to prevent a goal scoring opportunity for United and, as a result, the goal scorer was dismissed by referee Kevin Clancy.
The match then ended at 1-1 and, under Betfred Cup rules, was decided by a penalty shootout for a bonus point, with Hearts emerging victorious by 5 goals to 3, after Bobby Zlamal saved from Nicky Clark, and all five takers - Sean Clare, Ollie Bozanic, Michael Smith, Conor Washington and John Souttar - converting their spot kicks.
Hearts: Zlamal, M. Smith, Souttar, Berra, Clare, Washington, Walker (McDonald, 80'), Mulraney (Zanatta, 75'), Ikpeazu (Bozanic, 84'), Irving, Hickey. Subs: Doyle, Edwards, Halkett, Burns.
Dundee United: Siegrist, L. Smith, Sporle (Butcher, 46'), Connolly, Reynolds, McMullan, Clark, Stanton (Banks, 34'), Robson, Bouhenna, Shankland (Appere, 62'). Subs: Mehmet, C. Smith, Harkes, King.
Referee: Kevin Clancy