Hearts U20s returned to winning ways with a resounding 6-0 win away to Partick Thistle on Tuesday night.
The Wee Jambos ran riot on a cold night at Airdrieonians’ Excelsior Stadium, with Aidan Keena grabbing a hat-trick, complimented by a double from Callumn Morrison and a late sixth from Marc Leonard. Such was the margin of the victory that Hearts could even afford an early missed penalty.
Morrison started the match dangerously and won Hearts a spot kick on five minutes when he skinned his marker on the byline and was dragged down inside the area. Keena stepped up but his effort was saved.
A minute later, however, that miss was forgotten when Keena broke down the left and sent over a low cross that the sliding Morrison buried beyond keeper Jamie Stevenson. On 23 minutes, Keena got his first goal when a chipped ball from Marc Leonard sent him through on the angle.
He hammered a terrific first-time shot that bounced off the bar and down, over the line, back up onto the bar and out again. Morrison tapped the ball in to make sure, but Keena was awarded the goal.
Morrison, clearly benefiting from his development loan at high-flying Stirling Albion, was looking very sharp and came close on two further occasions. Firstly, his free kick skimmed the post and went wide, and then Leonard’s back over the top sent him clear but Stevenson produced a fine save.
After the break, Jay Sandison had a great chance to make it three when Anthony McDonald squared the ball to him, but the pass was just slightly behind the full-back and he hit his shot over. McDonald’s next pass was more accurate, however, when he beat the offside trap and squared it to Keena who hammered home.
A minute later, the Irish forward had his hat-trick. Confidence brimming, he collected a pass from Angus Beith on a break-away, cut inside the box onto his right foot and sent the ball into the top corner.
Not content to be outdone, and with some dispute going on as to whether or not he was on a hat-trick, Morrison made it five on 73 minutes when he used his speed to break through on goal and sent a low shot into the corner from 20 yards. Leonard then added gloss to the score when he was rewarded for a fine display with a low finish from Keena’s cut-back.
Hearts: Mason; Sandison, B. Gajda, C. Hamilton, Reid; Cochrane (Paton 70), Beith; Leonard, McDonald (Ward 81), Morrison; Keena (Irving 86). Subs not used: W. Gajda, Ritchie, Logan, C. Smith