Hearts ran out 4-0 winners over Falkirk this afternoon.
The Jambos were victorious in the friendly encounter in Largs thanks to an own goal, an Armand Gnanduillet brace and Stephen Kingley’s late strike.
Robbie Neilson utilised his squad after yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Ayr United. Young talents Aidan Denholm and Leo Watson patrolled the flanks with Connor Smith and Scott McGill playing in the middle of the park. Craig Gordon returned in goals after his Euro 2020 exploits with Scotland, while there were places on the bench for Kingsley and Jordan Roberts.
It took only two minutes for Hearts to open the scoring. Euan Henderson weaved his way into the box before pulling it back and his pacey pass was steered into the Falkirk net by the outstretched leg of a Bairns defender.
Henderson has a big claim for a penalty moments later after running from his own half into the Falkirk box before being bundled over from behind but the referee waved play on.
Gordon was called into action just before the half hour mark, making a smart block from Craig McGuffie’s shot at the back door.
A minute later it was 2-0. Watson’s corner from the right found Gnanduilllet, who stooped who head the ball in off Robbie Mutch’s left-hand post.
Mutch denied Hearts a third soon after. Josh Ginnelly looped a free kick deep into the Falkirk box and Mihai Popescu rose highest to power a header on target, but Mutch pulled off a good save.
Callumn Morrison wasn’t far away from pulling one back before the half was out but he dragged an effort from the edge of the box narrowly wide of Gordon’s goal.
It was Morrison who would bring out the best in Gordon ten minutes after the restart. The Falkirk winger’s 25-yard set piece looked destined for the top corner until the Jambos’ No. 1 flung himself to his right to claw the ball away.
Roberts would make an instant impact after being subbed on midway through the half. Gordon would block Anton Dowds’ low effort before Hearts went straight up the park, with Roberts dancing down the left before clipping an inch-perfect cross into the box for Gnanduillet to nod into the bottom corner of the net.
There was still time for one more goal before the game came to a close. Gnanduillet’s cross from the left was struck towards goal but blocked, only for the ball to spin out to Kingsley 10-yards out and he expertly drilled a shot with the outside of his left boot beyond Mutch into the far corner.
Hearts: Gordon (Stone, 83’), Denholm (Flatman, 79’), Watson, Popescu, Haring, Damour, Ginnelly (Kirk, 79’), C. Smith (Kingsley, 58’), Gnanduillet, McGill (Tait, 72’), Henderson (Roberts, 66’).
Falkirk: Mutch, Williamson, McCann, Hall, McKay, Hetherington, Miller, Ross, Morrison, McGuffie, Trialist. Subs: Trialist, Trialist, Telfer, Trialist, Dowds.