Hearts overcame tough opposition and even tougher weather conditions to battle to a 3-2 extra-time win over St Mirren in the third round of the SFA Youth Cup.
A Sean Ward double and a Cammy Logan strike won it for John Rankin’s side who now progress to the fourth round which will be played in December.
St Mirren had the better of the early chances with Josh Jack and Ryan Fleming going close for Burton O’Brien’s boys. The former Saints midfielder was assisted in the dugout by the Buddies’ reserve head coach and former Jambo Andy Webster.
As the rain started to lash down and the wind started to pick up Hearts got more into the game. Connor Smith, wearing the captain’s armband, burst forward and laid the ball to Sean Ward. The winger surged into the box and smacked the post with his first effort of the game.
Hearts didn’t hold back, with chances from Ward, Smith and McGill all testing the goalkeeper – but it was a blunder from Saints keeper David Wilson that opened the scoring.
As the game edged towards half-time Ward sent a long cross towards the box. It looked like Wilson would safely gather but under the wind and rain the ball slipped through his hands and into the net, gifting Hearts a 1-0 lead going into the half.
Ward’s second of the game – the referee did give him the first – came just before the hour mark and there was no doubt about this one. Good work from Ryan Schiavone and Smith saw the ball worked into the box where it eventually squirmed to the back-post. Ward took one touch before rifling a shot across the keeper and into the top corner to make it 2-0.
Hearts had a chance to extend the lead through more good work on the left from Ward. He evaded two challenges before clipping it into the middle where Schiavone’s header smacked the post and went behind.
The Wee Jambos were left ruing their missed chances as two quick goals from St Mirren levelled the tie. Firstly they were stunned by an absolute screamer from Josh Jack who collected the ball 25 yards from goal before turning and rifling it into the top corner.
Then, with 15 minutes to go, the defence failed to clear their lines from an in-swinging corner on the left-hand side. The ball fell to Kyle Docherty who poked home to equalise.
Hearts had two chances to pinch it at the death through sub Jay Charleston King and Cammy Logan but neither could put their efforts on target.
However, right-back Logan would make up for his miss after 96 minutes as the game went into extra-time. Good play from substitute Broadie Strang saw Logan played in on the right. He cut inside his man before shifting the ball back onto his right foot and driving a low shot into the bottom corner.
Hearts: Harris Spratt, Cameron Logan, Arron Darge, Dino Leddie, Leo Watson, Dean Ritchie, Scott McGill, Ryan Schiavone, Connor Smith (c), Sean Ward (Broadie Strang 91’), Leeroy Makovora (Jay Charleston King 77’).
Subs: Cameron Graham, Sean Docherty, Mackenzie Ramos.
St Mirren: David Wilson, Ben Cameron (c), Jamie Walker, Ryan Fleming (Alex McCaw 65’), Kyle Girven, Chris McKenna, Finlay Gray (Lewis Jamieson 114’), Dean McMaster, Ross McFarlane, Kyle Docherty, Josh Jack.
Subs: Sam Ellis, Kyle Millar, Carter Frew.