Hearts played out their first competitive home fixture of the new season as East Fife were the visitors in the group stages of the Betfred Cup.
A Kyle Lafferty double and a Christophe Berra header gave the Jam Tarts a 3-0 win in the 2nd match of the competition.
Following Tuesday’s win at Elgin City, Head Coach Ian Cathro made three changes to the side, with all three coming in defence. Out went Ashley Smith-Brown, Aaron Hughes and Krystian Nowak.
Into the side came Rafal Grzelak, Jordan McGhee - making his first competitive appearance in over a year following a loan spell at Middlesbrough - and there was also a welcome return for John Souttar, playing his first game since January after a ruptured achilles injury.
On the sixth minute, Hearts had their first chance. Don Cowie’s ball into the middle ran all the way through to Michael Smith at the back post, and the full-back’s driven shot was tipped onto the post by Ryan Goodfellow.
Hearts should have scored on 12 minutes. Cowie broke the offside trap and fired in a pinpoint cross for Kyle Lafferty, but with the goal gaping, the striker’s diving header went the wrong side of the post.
Isma was next to threaten, the striker playing a neat one-two with Lafferty and firing in a shot from distance that Goodfellow parried away. Lafferty made amends for his earlier miss, however, as he met Souttar’s deep cross at the back post to nod the ball past Goodfellow.
Jamie Walker then tried his luck, the winger cutting past a couple of defenders and arrowing in a shot from long range that Goodfellow had to tip over the bar in a spectacular manner.
The Fifers enjoyed a bright start to the second half, and smart keeping from Hamilton prevented them from levelling. With the ball breaking to him at the edge of the box, Willis fired in a low shot that the Jambos keeper had to push away.
At this point, the rain had reached biblical levels, and both teams were struggling to put play together. However, Hearts did get their second goal from a set piece with 20 minutes remaining. Malaury Martin floated in a corner that was met by Christophe Berra to notch the first goal of his second spell at the club.
Walker then missed a great chance to finish the match off. After a delightful clipped ball by Martin, he broke into the box but his left foot shot went just wide of the right hand post.
However, on 84 minutes Lafferty was presented with a chance to end all doubt. As Isma ran through, he was hauled down by Gordon, who saw red. ‘The Duke’ stepped up and sent Goodfellow the wrong way to get his second goal of the match.
The last action of the match came as Isma met a Grzelak cross, but his header just went over, as the score stayed 3-0 in the Tynecastle rain.
Hearts: Hamilton, M.Smith, Grzelak, Souttar (Petkov, 46'), McGhee, Berra, Walker (Stockton, 77'), Buaben, Cowie (Martin, 61'), Lafferty, Isma. Subs: Noring, Nowak, Brandon, Moore.
East Fife: Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Docherty, Watson, Slattery, Duggan, Wilson, Millar, Gordon, Reilly (Flanagan, 76'), Willis. Subs: Wilkie, Inglis, Mutch, Young.
Ref: Nick Walsh
Top Man: Kyle Lafferty