Hearts were eliminated from the Betfred Cup today after a 2-2 draw with Dunfermline at Tynecastle.
Ian Cathro made three changes from the team that played Peterhead on Tuesday evening, with Arnaud Djoum making his first start of the season, alongside Jamie Brandon and John Souttar, who had been rested for the Peterhead match.
The Jambos had the first chance of the game on two minutes. Isma received a pass from Djoum on the left wing, he cut inside and fired a long-range effort that was deflected wide for a corner.
The Pars then came close on 19 minutes. After a swift counter attack, Calum Smith teed up Joe Cardle whose shot had to be saved well by the diving Jack Hamilton.
On 20 minutes, Hearts took the lead. Kyle Lafferty cut in from the left wing and teed up Don Cowie, who hit a fierce first-time shot from outside the box that caught Sean Murdoch by surprise and flew into the bottom corner.
Dunfermline levelled on 28 minutes, however, with a fine individual goal from Joe Cardle. Receiving the ball at the edge of the box, he sold a dummy and curled a shot into the bottom corner.
Prince Buaben was next to threaten for Hearts. From Brandon’s throw-in, Djoum laid it off to the Ghanaian whose first time shot was pushed wide. From Cowie’s corner, a Dunfermline head met the cross and was tipped onto the bar.
Seven minutes into the second half, the visitors took the lead. Kallum Higginbotham’s ball down the right flank found Calum Smith who then teed up Declan McManus who fired home.
Hearts nearly levelled four minutes later. Don Cowie’s corner was met by Lafferty, but Murdoch was sharp to it and got down well to save the effort on goal.
Isma had a chance to play in Stockton as he beat the offside trap from Martin’s through-pass, but the forward slipped as he tried to square it for Stockton. Lafferty then had a shot cleared off the line from a Martin corner.
Hearts levelled with four minutes as their pressure told. Martin’s driven free kick was nodded down by Berra, and Isma stabbed the ball over the line to level things, but that goal wasn’t enough.
The Jambos had a glorious chance to secure their place in the next round, after Martin’s corner bounced through to Stockton. The striker turned and, with the goal gaping, he fired the ball wide.
That was the last chance of the game, as it went to a penalty shootout. After three misses by Hearts, Dunfermline won the shootout 3-1 to seal their place as group winners.
Hearts: Hamilton, M.Smith, Berra, Souttar (Nowak, 52'), McGhee, Brandon, Buaben (Stockton, 60'), Cowie, Djoum (Martin, 74'), Lafferty, Isma. Subs: Noring, Smith-Brown, Randall, Currie.
Dunfermline: Murdoch, Williamson, Martin, Morris, Ashcroft, Higginbotham, Wedderburn, McManus, Cardle (M'Voto, 88'), Paton, Smith (Lochead, 66'). Subs: Gill, Splaine, Talbot, Duthie.
Referee: Craig Thomson
Top Man: Jamie Brandon