A rampant Hearts side racked up a 5-1 win over Dumbarton at Tynecastle today.
First-half goals from Osman Sow and Prince Buaben were complimented by Jason Holt, Callum Paterson and Billy King strikes, with Garry Fleming grabbing a solitary consolation for the visitors.
The Jambos lined-up with three changes to last week’s winning side; in came Paterson, Sam Nicholson and Soufian El Hassnaoui in the place of Danny Wilson, Jamie Walker and Dale Carrick.
Hearts started brightly and were inches away from taking the lead after only three minutes. David van Zanten’s dreadful backpass was met by Sow, but Scott Taggart’s last-gasp tackle prevented the Hearts striker from pulling the trigger inside the box.
Wave after wave of maroon attacks fell upon the visitors’ goal in the opening ten minutes. Sow just failed to connect with Paterson’s inviting cross while Nicholson dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box.
As is becoming standard, Sow continually found space to trouble the home defence. In the 22nd minute Morgaro Gomis slipped the Swede in but he couldn’t hit the target from 18 yards.
Four minutes later, Hearts took the lead. Paterson’s cross from the right was nodded beyond Danny Rogers by top scorer Sow, who leapt unmarked in the six-yard box.
Neil Alexander was at his very best to keep Hearts’ lead on the half hour mark. He sprung to his right to push Andy Graham’s header around the post in what was a stunning save.
After 38 minutes it was 2-0. King was scythed down inside the box as he got on the end of Paterson’s cross and Buaben stepped up to slam the ball home, albeit after Rogers got a strong hand to it.
The maroons almost went in 3-0 up at the break, but Rogers pulled off a spectacular save from El Hassnaoui, who peeled away from his man to get on the end of Paterson’s cross but the Dumabrton no. 1 blocked the Moroccan’s first-time effort.
A moment of real magic ten minutes into the second half almost put Hearts three up. Nicholson weaved his way through the Dumbarton defence beore lashing the ball off the crossbar from an acute angle.
A minute later it was 3-0. Substitute Jason Holt was teed-up nicely inside the box and drilled home across the face of goal.
By this point, Hearts were in complete control of proceedings. Nicholson continued to try his luck from distance and Billy King went close with a curling 20-yarder.
The visitors grabbed a goal back after 72 minutes when Colin Nish headed back across goal and Garry Fleming half-volleyed beyond Alexander from close range.
Hearts continued to press, with sub Jamie Walker looking dangerous. He combined well with Adam Eckersley down the left and after the left-back’s sliding shot was blocked behind by Rogers for a corner, Paterson leapt to nod home and make it 4-1.
To the Tynecastle support’s joy, Hearts made it 5-1 with two minutes remaining. A quick break saw King fly down the right-hand flank before cutting inside and firing home an unstoppable shot from outside the box.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Ozturk, Gomis, El Hassnaoui, Nicholson (Walker, 75'), King, Buaben (Pallardo, 67'), Sow (Holt, 46'), McGhee, Eckersley. Subs: Hamilton, McHattie, McKay, Buchanan.
Dumbarton: Rogers, van Zanten, Linton, Graham, Gilhaney, Agnew (McDonald, 63'), Nish (Campbell, 73'), Megginson, Kirkpatrick (McDougall, 78'), Taggart, Fleming. Subs: Ewings, Mair, McLaughin.
Referee: John McKendrick
Top man: Billy King