Hearts completed a quite stunning comeback at McDiarmid Park tonight as the U20s recovered from 2-0 at the half-time interval to win 4-2.
Euan Henderson made the difference, with the striker netting all four goals in a superb second half performance from the entire side.
Andy Kirk made two changes from the side that defeated Motherwell in impressive fashion last week, with Daniel Baur and Harry Cochrane - fresh from his first Scottish Premiership start - missing out, replaced in the side by Kyle Smith and Marc Leonard.
The home side started brightly, with a more experienced St Johnstone side dominating in midfield led by former Hibs captain Liam Craig, and the midfielder’s early free-kick caused havoc in the Hearts penalty area as Kelby Mason was forced into a fine save to keep out Callum Hendry.
Following this, Craig had the next effort on goal himself. Breaking into the Hearts half, Craig let rip from distance but his left-footed drive was narrowly wide of Mason’s post. Former Celtic starlet Denny Johnstone was next to threaten for the hosts.
Breaking the offside trap, the forward burst into the area but as Mason closed the angle, he hit his effort over the bar. Hearts then had two efforts on goal saved, with Euan Henderson and Alex Petkov coming close.
However, St Johnstone soon took the lead. Craig found space on the left wing and, with pinpoint accuracy, found Hendry inside the area to nod the ball past Mason. Ten minutes later, they doubled their lead.
Left-back Cameron Thomson found space down the left wing, and after hitting the byline, scored from a nearly impossible angle at Mason’s near-post off the woodwork to grab the home side’s second.
Hearts had a claim for a penalty just prior to half time when Euan Henderson was brought down in the area, but referee Dan McFarlane deemed the challenge on the striker a fair one.
After the break, Hearts looked like the rest had done them good, and within ten minutes they’d cut the deficit. Running onto a through ball from Rory Currie, Henderson beat the offside trap and finished coolly beyond McKenzie.
Hearts then had a flurry of chances to level the game. First, Kyle Smith had a shot blocked inside the area, then Keena had a shot deflected wide. From the corner, Henderson’s shot on goal was saved.
The equaliser did come, however, on 75 minutes. Currie laid the ball off to Henderson in the area, and the striker fired a superb shot into the top corner with his left foot.
The comeback was complete with four minutes remaining, when the impressive substitute Anthony McDonald turned his man and fired a shot off the post, which was then tapped in by the gleeful Henderson.
The powerful striker then put the cherry on top of a brilliant display as he drove at the St Johnstone defence in stoppage time and slammed home a low shot from 20 yards out to seal a quite astonishing victory.