Hearts suffered Hampden heartbreak as a slick Motherwell side won the Scottish FA Youth Cup in tonight’s clash at the national stadium.
Despite fine strikes from Jordan McGhee and Dario Zanatta, the Steelmen proved too much for the Riccarton lads as they triumphed by five goals to two in front of a crowd of 2,769.
Jon Daly drafted in Jordan McGhee from Robbie Neilson’s first-team squad in the heart of the defence alongside Daniel Baur, with Liams Smith and Henderson flanking them as goalkeeper Kelby Mason sat in behind them.
The midfield four were Callumn Morrison, Robbie Buchanan, Angus Beith and Lewis Moore, with Russell McLean and Dario Zanatta led the line.
After a quiet start to the game from both sides, the Jambos had most of the possession in the middle of the park without threatening.
Robbie Buchanan went into the book on 20 minutes for hauling down Dom Thomas after a counter-attack from the Steelmen.
Taking the set-piece himself, his cross was spilled by Kelby Mason at the feet of Dylan Mackin who couldn’t miss from three yards out.
Hearts had their first sight of goal after the half-hour mark, captain Liam Smith’s teasing ball finding Russell McLean at the back-post, but the striker turned his effort into the side netting.
The Wee Jambos were made to rue that miss, as Motherwell doubled their lead moments later. Cutting in from the right wing, Chris Cadden’s cut-back was deflected beyond Mason.
Then, out of nowhere, the Jambos were back in it. Initially upset with referee Stewart Luke’s decision, they were delighted as Jordan McGhee’s low free-kick found the bottom corner to give them a lifeline going into the break.
After dominating the start of the second half, Motherwell went further in front. Thomas swung a corner in from the right, the ball was flicked on and Mason’s save rebounded straight to David Ferguson who made no mistake.
Hearts tried to respond, but a superb save from Brett Long denied Buchanan after a swerving shot from distance, and the Well defence scrambled the ball away from any further danger.
The Jambos did pull a goal back on 65 minutes, as Dario Zanatta robbed Ferguson and rounded keeper Long to reduce the arrears. Zanatta then threatened again, cutting in from the right but his shot went over the bar.
Mason was called into action on 74 minutes as he produced a fine save to deny Ross MacLean from netting the Well 4th, the keeper showing fine reflexes to divert away the close-range effort.
The keeper was helpless, however, as substitute Robbie Leitch cut in from the left to bend home a curling effort into the side netting with fifteen minutes remaining.
Although Buchanan and Zanatta tried to reduce the deficit once more with long-range efforts, Motherwell scored the final goal of the match with a minute left to seal victory.
Hearts: Mason, L. Smith, L. Henderson, Baur, McGhee, Beith, Morrison, Buchanan, McLean, Zanatta, Moore. Subs: Easton, McKirdy, Jones, Roy, MacDonald.
Motherwell: Long, Watt, McMillan, Ferguson, Hall, Campbell, MacLean, Turnbull, Mackin, Thomas, Cadden. Subs: Morrison, Falconer, Hastie, Leitch, Livingstone.
Referee: Stewart Luke