Hearts capped off their pre-season tour of Ireland with a 4-2 win over Shelbourne at Tolka Park.
A first-half Gary Oliver goal set the Jambos on their way to victory, with Sam Nicholson, Jordan McGhee and Juanma sealing the win, while James English bagged a brace for the hosts.
There was a starting berth for Alim Ozturk, his first in this pre-season campaign, as he skippered the Jambos against the Irish second tier side, as Robbie Neilson looked to utilise his full squad.
It was the home side who threatened first, with James English heading over from a cross from the right.
Moments later Neil Alexander pulled off a spectacular flying save to deny Philip Hughes, after the Shels striker rifled an effort from 25-yards.
Oliver was proving to be a thorn in the side of Shelbourne with his darting runs and neat link-up play. On 15 minutes Callum Paterson met his corner but the right-back could only head wide.
Five minutes later Oliver twisted away from two men before trying his luck from distance, but it was straight into Greg Murray’s arms.
Ozturk was an early casualty for the Jambos, he made way for Jahmal Howlett-Mundle after 26 minutes, with the armband going to Blazej Augustyn.
Hearts broke the deadlock just before the half hour mark, courtesy of Oliver. A long ball forward saw Murray fail to clear at the edge of the box, and Oliver was on hand to take a touch before rifling the ball home through a sea of red shirts.
The lively Oliver nearly turned provider moments later when he teed-up Jamie Walker outside the box, but the winger’s drive was watched all the way by Murray who made the save.
Substitute Howlett-Mundle almost got on the end of Walker’s cross before the half was out, and the last chance of the first 45 fell to Walker himself who blasted over the bar from 18-yards.
As expected, an entirely new XI – Howlett-Mundle aside - took to the park for the second-half with Prince Buaben taking over armband duties.
It took only eight minutes for the hosts to get back on level terms. A mix up in the Hearts defence saw English beat Hamilton to the ball and he rounded the ‘keeper before firing into an empty net.
The scores didn’t stay level for long though, as another defensive mix up saw Nicholson capitalise and run through on goal before slotting beyond Murray to restore Hearts’ lead.
Robbie Buchanan went close a minute later, as his 25-yard ping just fell the wrong side of Murray’s right-hand post.
By this point Hearts were in complete control and threatening every time they went forward. Osman Sow latched onto Liam Henderson’s long ball but saw his effort blocked by Murray, then the Shels ‘keeper did well to tip a Nicholson drive over the bar.
Jordan McGhee turned on the style to put Hearts 3-1 up with ten minutes to go. He curled a fabulous free-kick on the edge of the box around the wall and into the top corner, leaving Murray with no chance.
Shelbourne managed to pull one back immediately. A cross from the left found the unmarked English in the box, who looped his header over Hamilton and into the back of the net.
Right on the death, Hearts bagged a fourth. Sow raced down the line and cutback for Juanma, who sidefooted into an empty net.
Two wins out of two for the Jambos in Dublin, who head back home tomorrow before facing Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park on Tuesday.
Picture courtesy of Eoin Smith.
Shelbourne: Murray, O'Connor, Kehoe, R. Robinson, Heaney, Doyle, McGlade, A. Robinson, Hughes, English, Earley. Subs: E. Donnelly, Andrews, J. Donnelly, Coughlan, O'Reilly, Keely, Sandford, Osam.
Hearts first-half: Alexander, Paterson, Ozturk (Howlett-Mundle, 26'), Augustyn, McHattie, Oliver, Anderson, Bajraktari, Walker, El Hassnaoui, Reilly.
Hearts second-half: Hamilton, Smith, Howlett-Mundle, McGhee, Henderson, King, Buchanan, Buaben, Nicholson, Juanma, Sow.
Referee: Tomas Connolly
Top man: Gary Oliver