Hearts continued their pre-season preparations with a win over Partick Thistle at Cowdenbeath’s Central Park today.
Goals from Ben Garuccio and Olly Lee, who grabbed a double, sealed a 3-1 win for the Jambos in a competitive match against their recently relegated opponents.
Following yesterday’s 2-0 friendly win over Dumbarton, manager Craig Levein named an entirely different starting eleven, with new signing Steven MacLean taking the captain’s armband for the day. Kyle Lafferty made his first appearance of pre-season, while Ryan Edwards took on his former side.
Hearts took the lead after only two minutes. Ben Garuccio collected the ball and drove into the Thistle half. The full-back aimed for the back post with his cross, but the surface aided him in sending the ball soaring over the head of keeper Aaron Lennox into the top corner.
Thistle began to get back into the game after that early blow, and had a few chances to level matters through Chris Erskine, who fired wide, and James Penrice, whose stinging shot was well saved by trailist Kevin Silva.
Garuccio then swung in a cross from the left after some neat wing play, but Liam Smith’s header drifted narrowly wide after the Australian had cut back onto his right foot.
Thistle equalised on 38 minutes when a dangerous in-swinging cross was nodded home from close-range by Thomas O’Ware.
Hearts began the second half on the front foot. Edwards played a lovely one-two with Lafferty and broke into the box, but last-ditch defending stopped a goal.
However, two minutes later Hearts retook the lead. Olly Lee collected a pass from MacLean 25 yards from goal, turned and curled a delightful strike into the top corner, in a moment of real quality from the English midfielder.
Thistle then came close when Blair Spittal broke into the box, but he dragged a left foot shot wide, before MacLean sent sub Harry Cochrane in with a neat pass at the other end of the park, but Lennox saved his shot comfortably.
Hearts scored their third on the 76th minute after a very well worked move. Michael Smith won possession in the Thistle half and exchanged passes with Cochrane, who laid it to Ollie Bozanic. The Australian fired a cross-field pass to Garuccio, who slipped the ball in to Lee, who fired home from a tight angle after his first passing attempt was blocked.
That would prove to be the final meaningful action of the match as the Jambos sealed their third win on the spin, with a trip to Dumfries to face Queen of the South next on the agenda on Wednesday evening.
Hearts: Silva (Mason, 61'), M. Smith (Morrison, 85'), Garuccio, L. Smith, Petkov, Bozanic, Lee, Lafferty (Currie, 74'), Edwards (Cochrane, 63'), MacLean (Amankwaa, 84'). Subs: Zanatta, Irving, Ritchie.
Partick Thistle: Lennox, Trialist A, Penrice, O'Ware, McGinty, Bannigan, Slater, Spittal, Erskine (Galasso, 88'), Storer (Wilson, 61'), Doolan. Subs: Sneddon, Firzpatrick, McIntyre, Trialist B.
Referee: Don Robertson