Hearts continued their unbeaten start to the season with a comfortable 2-1 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle this afternoon.
Second-half goals from Steven Naismith and Liam Boyce were enough for all three points, with Aaron Doran pulling one back late on, meaning the Jambos have won all seven of their opening games.
Robbie Neilson made two changes from the side that reached the Scottish Cup Final by defeating Hibs at Hampden last week. Naismith and Peter Haring were given starting berths with Jamie Walker and Jordan Roberts both missing out through injury.
The game burst into life after ten minutes. A tremendous passing move saw Haring dummy into the path of Naismith, who quickly fed Andy Halliday and the midfielder put a pinpoint pass into the box for Stephen Kingsley on the overlap, but his cross was just inches behind Liam Boyce, who was able to stop ball but not hit the follow up.
Moments later Olly Lee swung a set piece into the back door for Craig Halkett to head back across to the other side of the goal but Boyce could only nod wide of the target.
The Jambos went close again just before the half hour mark. The ball broke to Michael Smith inside the box and he cut inside before floating a left-foot effort inches wide of Mark Ridgers’ right-hand post.
Halliday’s corner wasn’t cleared on the stroke of half time and Haring got to the ball, but with his back to goal he turned and swung at it wildly, sending it well wide.
Hearts started the second half with a bang by opening the scoring 60 seconds into the restart. Kingsley got down the left to middle for Naismith, who steered the ball into Ridgers’ bottom left corner from eight-yards out.
The visitors made a decent fist of it but neither side really created any clear cut chances.
That was until the 70th minute. Lee accelerated towards the byline before cutting back for Boyce, who expertly flicked the ball goalwards and beyond Ridgers to double the Jambos’ lead.
Three minutes later the men in maroon struck the woodwork. Substitute Aidy White latched on to a slack touch from Brad McKay to advance into the box before blasting past Ridgers but the ball crashed back off the crossbar.
With their first real chance of the game, ICT pulled one back. Doran connected with a ball into the Hearts box and glanced a header into Craig Gordon’s bottom right corner.
Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Haring (Irving, 62’), Lee, Boyce (Frear, 84’), Naismith (White, 72’), Wighton, Halliday, Kingsley, Halkett, Popescu. Subs: Stewart, Berra, Brandon, Henderson.
Inverness CT: Ridgers, Duffy, Welsh, MacGregor (Sutherland, 68’), Harper, Allardice, Kennedy (Doran, 75’), McKay, Deas, D. MacKay (Keatings. 75’), Todorov. Subs: C. MacKay, Devine, Vincent, Fyffe.