Hearts came from behind to draw 1-1 with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem this afternoon in Valencia.
The Jambos’ opening friendly match of their Spanish winter training camp proved a useful workout, with Andy Irving’s late free-kick leveling proceedings after Bryan Linssen gave the Eredivisie outfit a first-half lead.
Craig Levein named Jack Hamilton, Alex Petkov, Marcus Godinho and Dario Zanatta in his starting eleven, alongside the likes of Christophe Berra, Aaron Hughes and Kyle Lafferty.
The game’s first real attack produced the opening goal. Milot Rashica’s 14th minute cross into the edge of the six-yard box found Linssen, who bulleted a header into the top corner of the net.
Vitesse should’ve doubled their lead three minutes later. Rashica’s defence-splitting pass sent Thomas Bruns clean through, but Hamilton got down to his left to produce a fantastic one-handed save.
From the resulting corner, Guram Kashia nodded goalwards but straight at Hamilton, who gathered comfortably.
Hearts’ best chance of the half came on 24 minutes. Cole Stockton flicked on a ball for Lafferty, but from the edge of the box he could only lift the ball straight into Remko Pasveer’s arms.
Vitesse went close again before the half hour mark when Luc Castaignos slid Rashica through, but from an angle he blasted over the bar.
Zanatta did well to keep possession and fire over a dangerous cross in the 35th minute, and though Stockton got a touch on it inside the six-yard box, the Dutch defence managed to block the ball behind for a corner.
Hamilton was called into action again before the half was out, saving from Linssen’s curling shot from 18-yards.
Wholesale changes were made at half-time, with many of the club’s young stars given game time.
As friendlies tend to do after the break, the game lacked any real rhythm. David Milinkovic had a penalty shout turned down before Castaignos sclaffed an effort wide from close range.
Hamilton and substitute John Souttar came to the rescue 70 minutes in. Mason Mount found space inside the box to drill a shot on target, but the Hearts pair combined to deflect the ball over the bar.
Isma Goncalves hit a long-range effort wide of the target after 75 minutes, before playing Milinkovic through but the winger took to long to take his shot, allowing the defence to rush back and make a goal-saving tackle.
The equaliser came with six minutes remaining. Youngster Connor Smith was fouled 20-yards out and Irving stepped up to curl his set piece around the wall, and although the ‘keeper got a hand to the ball he couldn’t keep it out of the net.
A good workout in hot conditions, next up is another friendly match tomorrow, against German side FC Nurnberg.
Hearts: J. Hamilton, Randall (C. Hamilton, 60'), Berra (Souttar, 46'), Hughes (Baur, 60'), Godinho (Brandon, 46'), Cowie (Paton, 60'), Petkov (Cochrane, 46' - Keena, 82'), Martin (Irving, 46' - Ritchie, 88'), Zanatta (Milinkovic, 46'), Lafferty (Isma, 46'), Stockton (Henderson, 46' - C. Smith, 82').
Vitesse Arnhem: Pasveer, Dabo, Kruiswijk, Rashica, Bruns, Linssen, Castaignos, Serero, Mount, Kashia, Faye.