Hearts ended their long wait for East of Scotland Shield glory by beating Hibs 3-1 at Tynecastle this afternoon.
A glut of second-half goals from Dale Baxter, Russell McLean and Euan Henderson made sure that the Shied – contested at U18s level - remained in Gorgie for the first time in 10 years. Jamie Gullane pulled one back for Hibs.
The Wee Jambos were able to call upon the services of Sean McKirdy, who captained the side, along with fellow top team starlet Callumn Morrison.
The visitors made a bright start, attacking the Hearts goal from the off. Kevin Waugh got on the end of knock down inside the box but he flashed a half volley wide of Kelby Mason’s right-hand post.
Hearts soon got a strong foothold into the game and went close in the 17th minute when the ball broke to Dale Baxter outside the box, however his low drive flew past post and wasn’t enough to trouble Grant Goodfellow.
A great counter attack from the visitors saw Oliver Shaw put through on goal but despite doing the hard work in controlling the ball and bounding through the middle, he screwed his shot well wide.
Shwa was in the mix again with a delightful backwards header from a high ball into the box but the ball looped onto the roof of the net.
Hibs had the ball in the back of the net just after the half hour mark through Waugh’s unmarked header, thankfully the offside flag came to the Wee Jambos’ rescue.
Ian Smith was a real livewire for Hearts and he almost out them ahead in the 44th minute. He darted inside and curled an effort from the edge of the box, only to see Goodfellow pull off a great flying save to tip the ball behind.
Hearts had Mason to thank for keeping the scores level at half-time, he made a tremendous close range block from Jamie Gullane who had sprung the offside trap.
The second-half started with a bang when Ian Smith cracked the crossbar with a wonderful 25-yard drive as the Wee Jambos reemerged with fire in their bellies.
The breakthrough came in the 52nd minute and it was for the boys in maroon. McLean showed great strength to power down the right before middling for Baxter, who took a touch then slammed home beyond Goodfellow.
It was nearly 2 a minute later. McLean’s header from a corner was blocked on the line and Lewis Moore’s follow up was somehow deflected behind.
The roles were reversed for Hearts’ second of the game after 65 minutes, this time Baxter made the run and cut back from the right for McLean to tap home from close range.
A poor goal kick saw the ball land straight at the feet of Hibs’ Shaw but Mason atoned brilliantly by racing off his line and blocking the ball behind, preventing a certain goal.
A minute later however Hibs pulled one back. Gullane picked Ian Smith’s pocket inside the box before blasting beyond from six-yards out.
With seven minutes remaining Hearts made sure of the win with their third of the afternoon. Daniel Baur headed back across goal from a corner and Henderson popped up on the line to touch the ball home to make it 3-1.
A great victory for the Wee Jambos who celebrated with the East of Scotland Shield on the pitch at full time.
Hearts: Mason, Hamilton, Reid, Baur, Jones, McKirdy, Morrison, I. Smith, McLean, Baxter (Irving, 77'), Moore (Henderson, 67'). Subs: Brown, Johnston, Stevenson.
Hibs: Goodfellow, Donaldson, Stirling, Waugh, Porteous, A. Smith, Watson, Breen (Galantes, 84'), Shaw, Gullane, Murray. Subs: Costello, Campbell, Barfoot.
Referee: Jordan Brown