Hearts U20s have progressed through to the fifth round of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup after beating Inverness CT 4-2 at Tynecastle.
Liam Fox’s side cruised into a 3-0 lead in the first-half thanks to a Dario Zanatta double and a Robbie Buchanan strike. ICT pulled one back before the half was out thanks to Andrew MacRae, before Ali Sutherland scored a penalty early in the second-half. Buchanan grabbed his brace with a penalty of his own in what was an entertaining cup tie.
The Wee Jambos bossed the opening proceedings, passing well across the frosty Tynecastle pitch.
The game sprung into life after quarter of an hour. Dario Zanatta cut in from the left and unleashed a thunderbolt, which Cammy MacKay did well to beat away, but Liam Smith ballooned the follow-up over the bar from outside of the box.
Angus Beith forced MacKay into another food save after 25 minutes. He collected in the middle of the park before driving forward and curling from distance, but the Caley ‘keeper was alert enough to tip the ball over the bar.
The Wee Jambos took the lead just after the half hour mark. Lewis Moore burst down the right-hand side of the box and hit an effort on target, which MacKay could only palm into the middle of the six-yard box, and Zanatta was on hand to stab home into an empty net.
Zanatta nearly doubled Hearts’ lead after getting on the end of Liam Smith’s corner, but he flashed his header over the bar from the front post.
It was 2-0 after 40 minutes. Ian Smith’s corner from the left was met first-time by Buchanan, who sublimely volleyed into the bottom corner of the net, past the helpless MacKay.
A minute later the Wee Jambos thought they were out of sight. Moore skipped past his man at the edge of the box and picked out Zanatta at the back door, and the Canadian bulleted a header past MacKay to make it 3-0.
Not to be outdone, ICT pulled one back before the half was out. A short free-kick into the edge of the box found MacRae, who dodged a sliding tackle before slamming low into Conor Easton’s right-hand corner.
Two minutes into the restart the visitors were awarded a penalty after Sean McKirdy was judged to have brought down his man at the edge of the box. Ali Sutherland stepped up and slotted beyond Easton. Game on.
Hearts kept at it and Ian Smith was denied from outside the box. Liam Smith carried the ball deep into the ICT half before Ian took over and drove low towards the corner, but MacKay got across his goal to make a fine diving save.
Controversy surrounded the game’s second penalty, as Buchanan was fouled on the edge of the box. The visitors complained bitterly that the foul occurred outside of the box, but Buchanan dusted himself down and fired beyond MacKay to make it 4-2.
Hearts had Easton to thank for preventing another comeback. Jason Brown raced down the middle to go one-on-one with the Wee Jambos 'keeper, but he magnificently touched the defender's shot onto the bar.
That was all she wrote as the Wee Jambos progress through to the next round.
Hearts: Easton, L. Smith, L. Henderson, Baur, Jones, McKirdy, Zanatta (E. Henderson, 88'), Beith, I. Smith (Morrison, 61'), Buchanan, Moore. Subs: Fisher, Howlett-Mundle, Baxter.
ICT: MacKay, C. Brown, Howarth, J. Brown, Gilchrist, Rennie, Stark, MacArthur, MacRae, Sutherland, Hull. Subs: MacRitchie, MacDonald, Hendry, Hoban.