A Hearts XI that included a returning Christophe Berra battled the wind, rain, and mud to defeat Linlithgow Rose at Prestonfield on Wednesday night.
The side, which also included first-team players Danny Amankwaa, Jake Mulraney, Craig Wighton and Anthony McDonald, travelled to West Lothian for a game that officially opened the brand new floodlights at the amateur side’s ground.
The match was initially supposed to be played in October but was rescheduled after it clashed with Hearts’ away trip to Dundee.
It looked like the game might face postponement again as Storm Diana hit, with the referee holding a pitch inspection an hour before kick-off.
However, the game went ahead despite the poor conditions, allowing club captain Christophe Berra a return to the pitch - his first since tearing his hamstring against Celtic in the second league game of the season.
It was sure to be a messy affair with the pitch resembling a motocross track at times. You wouldn’t want to be the kit man after this one.
The first real chance of the game came after 20 minutes when Rose’s Roddy MacLennan picked up a poorly cleared corner and fired a left footed shot at Kelby Mason who parried it away.
The Gallant then won a corner after a deflected MacLennan shot and somehow missed the target. The corner was swung deep to the back-post where McKinley flew through the air to meet it but he could only put his header over.
It was Hearts who got on the scoresheet first after half-an-hour. The ball broke kindly for Jake Mulraney with Rose caught short in defence. He back-heeled it to Craig Wighton who took it onto his right foot and fired it low across the keeper to open the scoring.
Wighton then made it two just before half-time. Connor Smith picked up a loose corner and went to play a one-two with Alex Petkov. The Bulgarian’s pass was deflected and fell to Wighton who guided his close-range effort into the bottom corner.
Hearts had the first chance of the second half, this time through Smith. Linlithgow could not clear their lines after a corner and eventually it fell to Smith who curled a long range effort past the goalie’s post.
Tommy Coyne forced a good save from Mason with 65 minutes gone. A great cross came in from Darren Smith on the right-hand side and Coyne planted his header towards goal but Mason got behind it.
Substitutes Scott McGill and Leeroy Makovora then went close for Hearts. Firstly, McGill blasted just over from 25 yards before Makovora was played through by Henderson. The striker was closed down and his shot was deflected, narrowly going over the bar.
There was only five minutes left when Smith next went close. As players began to tire it was a much more open affair and Cammy Logan strode forward. He played in Smith who cut it back onto his left foot before curling wide.
Hearts: Kelby Mason, Cammy Logan, Trialist, Christophe Berra (c), Aaron Hickey, Alex Petkov, Connor Smith, Danny Amankwaa, Anthony McDonald, Jake Mulraney, Craig Wighton
Subs: Kevin Silva, Scott McGill, Dean Ritchie, Dino Leddie, Euan Henderson, Leeroy Makovora, Chris Hamilton