On a freezing cold night in Livingston, the wee Jambos secured passage to the Third Round of the Youth Cup with a 3-1 extra-time win over Dundee.
John Rankin was able to name a slightly more experienced under-18 side – if such a thing exists – with reserve regulars Cammy Logan, Arron Darge, Scott McGill and Leeroy Makovora all playing.
It was Dundee who had the first chance at the Tony Macaroni Arena in Livingston, when Ewan Murray nodded a long-free kick down to Cameron Dow, who flashed his left-footed volley just wide.
Josh Mulligan – who has three first team appearances for Dundee – was the next to try, driving forward from midfield before firing a shot down the throat of Harry Stone.
However, it was Hearts who took the lead in the 22nd minute. The ball dropped out of the sky and dropped into the box, with Logan controlling before he was tripped. Aidan Denholm stepped up to the spot and sent a superb penalty past young Luca Ferguson in the Dees goal.
It took former Dundee just ten minutes to respond, when Dow made a good burst down the right before crossing and Lyall Cameron got there just ahead of Darge and Logan to score.
Into the second-half, and it was the visitors who had the better chance. Ewan White missed a great chance from close range before Mulligan curled a free-kick inches past the post.
There was not a great dearth of chances in the second 45 minutes, and it looked like Makovora could have won it with five minutes left to play when he sent a 30-yard free-kick just wide.
Hearts pushed for the late winner, with Denholm having a shot well saved by Ferguson before Jay Charleston-King blasted just over from 20 yards.
By the end of the 90 minutes the sides – both coached by former Dundee United teammates in Rankin and Scott Robertson – could not be separated.
Dundee started extra-time brighter, with Grady McGrath finding the on-rushing Mulligan with a nice back-heel, but his effort could only find the side-netting.
Hearts responded a minute later, and they would make it count. Charleston-King found Darge at the front-post with a nice cross and the centre-back powered his header into the back of the net to give the Jambos the lead.
The hosts’ fitness meant they threatened far more than Dundee in extra-time, and they almost killed the game when Makovora’s half-volley was well-saved by Ferguson.
It wouldn’t take them much longer to find a third. A corner was flicked on to the back-post and Denholm nodded it back into danger. Callum Hambrook, a second-half sub, got their first and fired home from close-range.
The match would not finish without incident, as Makovora saw red after reacting to a challenge near the corner flag.
It did not dent the mood too much though, as the Jambos now march into the Third Round.
Hearts: Stone; Logan ©, Darge, Watson, Ward (Flatman, 60’); McGill, Denholm; Charleston-King (Docherty, 115’), Makovora, Lawler (Hambrook, 68’); Schiavone (Kirk, 120’)
Subs: Spratt; Thomas, Allen
Dundee: Ferguson; Kemlo (Joyce, 108’), Strachan, Hornyik, Murray; White (Lamb, 110’), Mulligan, Fleming © (Mansouri, 108’), Dow (Duell, 101’); Cameron, McGrath
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