James Keatings on the level for Hearts U-20s at Spartans

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Hearts UNDER-20s began their new season with a 1-1 match against Spartans (East of Scotland) at a foggy, drizzly Ainslie Park on Saturday afternoon.

Hearts fielded Jordan McGhee, James Keatings and Gary Oliver in their line-up plus a trialist winger and goalkeeper.

Following a quiet opening, Hearts’ Jack Hamilton was the first goalkeeper in serious action, forced into a fine save from Michael Gray following a defensive blunder. In reply, Keatings fired a free-kick over the bar and Oliver shot narrowly past the post.

On 27 minutes, Spartans took the lead, with Gray heading home a David Stewart corner kick. Within a minute, Hearts almost equalised, Robbie Buchanan having a shot turned round the post by Spartans keeper Murray Jackson.

Shortly after the break, Buchanan was again denied by the keeper as Hearts dominated the possession.

On 63 minutes, James Keatings equalised with an angled shot from around ten yards.

That completed the scoring but Oliver had two efforts saved and Hearts’ trialist substitute goalkeeper had three fine stops including a double save from two close-range shots in the remaining minutes.

Spartans: Jackson; McWhirter, Brown, Laird, Pyda, Clapperton, Stewart, Gray, Ballantine, Cunningham, Rusin. Subs: Rankin, S Cameron, L Cameron, Cochrane, Boyes, Raiker, Imlah.

Hearts Under-20s: Hamilton (Brown 60), L Smith, McGhee, Henderson, Beith, Boyd (McKirdy 60), Buchanan, Scott, Flanagan (I Smith 70 ), Keatings, Oliver.