Match Reports

Match Report: Spartans 0-7 Hearts

29th June 2021

Hearts cruised to a 7-0 pre-season victory over Spartans at Ainslie Park on Tuesday night.

The result made it two friendly wins out of two on the same day, with a different Hearts XI beating Civil Service Strollers 4-0 earlier in the afternoon.

It took the Jambos just five minutes to open the scoring at Spartans. Loic Damour ran on to Michael Smith’s curled ball down the channel to advance towards the box and pick out Liam Boyce with a cross, and the Northern Irishman nodded into the far corner.

It was 2-0 before the 20-minute mark. Scott McGill’s raking pass found Gary Mackay-Steven, who took a touch into the box before middling for the unmarked Boyce to touch home.

Boyce nearly grabbed his hat-trick soon after. New loan signing Alex Cochrane received a switch of play and hit a tremendous volleyed cross into the box which Blair Carswell could only punch straight into the path of the Jambos striker, but the ball ricocheted off him and into the grateful goalkeeper’s arms.

Carswell came to the rescue with 42 minutes on the clock, making a fine block from Euan Henderson’s shot inside the box.

On the stroke of half time, the boys in maroon got a third. Damour swung a free kick in from the left and Craig Halkett rose highest to head into the bottom right corner of the net.

Hearts came flying out of the traps in the second half and got on the scoresheet within two minutes of the restart. Mihai Popescu’s defence-splitting pass was perfect, as was Mackay-Steven’s timing as he beat the offside trap to advance into the box and slot beyond Carswell.

After creating two, it was Damour’s turn to get on the scoresheet. Mackay-Steven was provider this time, slipping the Frenchman into the box on the overlap and he took a touch before blasting past Carswell to make it 5-0.

Robbie Neilson’s side kept up the pressure, with Damour again playing a wonderful chip into the box for Smith to get in behind his man before sending the ball to the back door but the outstretched leg of Boyce couldn’t connect.

The sixth goal did come on 54 minutes. Boyce sent Mackay-Steven clear down the right, he put a cross into the six-yard box and although Henderson could only get a touch on it, Cochrane was there to fire into the roof of the net.

Two minutes later, Hearts got their seventh. Cochrane won possession and sent the ball to the edge of the box for Henderson to pick his marker’s pocket and square to Mackay-Steven, who ran into the box and fired past Carswell from eight yards.

Harry Stone saw his first action after an hour, moving across his goal quickly to make a comfortable save from Sam Jones’ long-range effort.

The woodwork denied Hearts an eighth with 20 minutes remaining. Boyce dinked a ball into the box for the overlapping Damour to latch onto, only for the midfielder to thunder a close-range shot off of Carswell’s left-hand post.

With 83 minutes on the clock the Jambos had their final chance of the game. Carswell came rushing off his line to beat Henderson to a long ball but it fell to Boyce, who tired his luck from 25-yards, only to watch his lob sail wide of the target.

Another good workout for Neilson’s men, who have won three friendly matches from three, keeping three cleansheets and scoring 17 goals in the process.

Spartans: Carswell, Herd, Maxwell, Inglis, Bolochoweckj, Woods, Dishington, Smith, Henderson, Jones, Brown. Subs: Crolla, Trialist, Mackie, Trialist, Trialist.

Hearts: Stone (McFarlane, 74'), M. Smith (Rathie, 74'), Cochrane (Drysdale, 74'), Popescu, Halkett (Aitken, 74'), Flatman, Henderson, Damour, Boyce, McGill (Denholm, 74'), Mackay-Steven (Pollock, 59').