Heart of Midlothian 3-1 St Mirren
Tuesday 27th August 2019, KO 14:00 | Reserve Cup | Meggetland Stadium
It was a beautiful day at Meggetland and there was a reason to smile for the Jambos, with both Kelby Mason and Callumn Morrison making their returns from injury.
Morrison was able to mark the day with a goal as Hearts peppered the Saints goal with chances, and the visitors had Dean Lyness to thank for keeping the score down.
Despite a more experienced Saints side, including first-team players in Lyness, Jack Baird, Stephen McGinn and Oan Djorkaeff, the Jambos started on the front-foot.
A few gilt-edged chances were missed through Euan Henderson and Anthony McDonald as Lyness proved difficult to beat in the opening exchanges. Alex Petkov then went close before McDonald scooped another chance over the bar after good link-up play with Henderson.
The Saints had their first chance after 15 minutes when Mason was caught on the ball by Joshua Jack. The striker pulled it back for Djorkaeff, who squared to MacPherson but the midfielder's shot was saved by the legs of Mason.
Lyness was intent on keeping a clean sheet, parrying Chris Hamilton's close range header before producing another superb save to tip Aidan Keena's drive round the post.
However, there was nothing he could do to deny the opening goal in the 37th minute. Keena turned provider, sliding a great pass through to McDonald who was clear through. The winger kept his composure to slot past Lyness and give the Jambos a deserved lead.
Into the second-half and all the Jambos hard work was almost undone when the Saints hit the woodwork twice in five minutes. Firstly, Hamilton miscued a clearance and hit his own crossbar before MacPherson saw his whipped free-kick tipped onto the post by Kelby Mason.
The Jambos doubled their lead on 56 minutes and it came through Callumn Morrison, who made his first appearance since a knee operation before the summer. Aidan Keena weaved his way into the box before cutting it back looking for Anthony McDonald. The ball ended up dropping to the back-post, where Morrison rifled home from close range.
McDonald and Keena had further chances before the lead was stretched to three - and it came from a bizarre own goal. Mason launched a clearance up the pitch and Saints defender Scott Glover sent a header back over his own keeper to loop into the empty net.
McDonald should have had his second and Hearts fourth when he was put through one-on-one by Keena - again - but he somehow shot wide. Morrison was also played through by Keena, who had turned playmaker for the afternoon, but blasted his shot over.
The Saints got a goal back thanks to a strange penalty decision. Cammy Logan had appeared to make a super goal-line block, but the referee gave a penalty after play had resumed and the ball was upfield. It didn't daunt Cammy MacPherson, who slotted home well from the spot.
McDonald continued to cause the Saints all sorts of issues, producing a fine save from Lyness as well a strong shout for a penalty after his shot was blocked, seemingly off an arm, in the box but only a corner was awarded.
In the end, the Jambos picked up their first three points of this Cup campaign and now wait until late September for their second game of the stage - against Dundee United on the 23rd.
Hearts: Mason; Logan, Hamilton ©, Petkov, Baur; Morrison (C. Smith, 70’), Cochrane, Bozanic, Henderson; McDonald, Keena
Subs: Silva, Sandison, Ritchie, McGill, Ward, Darge
St Mirren: Lyness; McAllister, Baird, Glover (Walker, 67’), Erhahon; McGinn, McBrearty (Gray, 60’); Djorkaeff, MacPherson, Breadner (Henderson, 77’); Jack (Jamieson, 77’)
Subs: Law, Grant, Reilly.
Referee: Alastair Grieve
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