Hearts were edged out 1-0 by Sporting Lokeren in a friendly match this afternoon.
The Belgian side’s early opener was enough to seal the victory in Spain as the Jambos step up their preparations for next week’s Scottish Cup game against Livingston.
Recent signings David Vanecek and Conor Shaughnessy got their first runouts in a maroon shirt, with the entire 20-man squad featuring at some point.
Hearts started well by retaining possession of the ball, with Vanecek proving adept at holding it up.
Lokeren had the ball in the back of the net after seven minutes when Dorde Jovanovic headed home from close range but he was flagged for offside.
At the other end Sean Clare drove through the heart of the Lokeren defence before pulling the trigger at the edge of the box but Ortwin De Wolf pushed the ball over the bar.
The Belgians opened the scoring on 13 minutes. A defence-splitting pass saw Jovanovic advance into the box before he slotted beyond Colin Doyle and into the back of the net.
Moments later Olly Lee showed great skill to beat his man and send a ball into the box for Vanecek to bullet a header over the target, but he was offside anyway.
Hearts then had a penalty shout turned down when Vanecek dribbled into the box before being sandwiched between to Lokeren defenders but the referee waved play on.
Then the Jambos had a goal of their own disallowed. Steven Naismith headed a flick on over the 'keeper but the referee pulled play back for a push inside the box.
Marecek Lukas was able to weave his way into the Hearts box before blasting over the bar, then Arnaud Djoum fired over from distance.
Doyle got down to his near post to make a smart save from a header with ten minutes of the half remaining, and Jovanovic could’ve bagged a brace after springing the offside trap but he shot wide.
Chances were more restricted in the second half, with Jovanovic again failing to find the target and Mujangi Bia watched his long-range effort beaten away by substitute Zdenek Zlamal.
Zlamal make another good save in the 70th minute before Harry Cochrane’s cross was met by Steven MacLean but his stab towards goal was saved.
Jovanovic passed up another good chance to put the game to bed, heading over the bar from inside the box, then MacLean sent a ball over Ollie Bozanic but he couldn’t steer his shot on target.
Hearts: Doyle (Zlamal, 45’), Godinho (Brandon, 75’), Garuccio (Mitchell, 75’), Shaughnessy, Dikamona, Berra (Cochrane, 45’), Naismith (Bozanic, 60’), Lee (Mulraney, 45’), Vanecek (MacLean, 60’), Djoum (Burns, 75’), Clare (McDonald, 60’).