Jamie Walker got further valuable game-time under his belt for Hearts Under-20s as he continued his recovery from a broken metatarsal in the young Jambos’ 2-0 defeat by St Johnstone.
The 20-year-old winger, who made his first appearance for the senior team since early January as a sub last Saturday against Ross County, played the full 90 minutes last night in Perth as he looks to stake a claim in Gary Locke’s team for Sunday’s derby visit to Hibs.
However, his presence could not help the Under-20s to victory, as two second-half goals resulted in a win for the Saints.
Hearts, hit by injuries and suspensions, also fielded senior-squad defender Jordan McGhee and were forced to recall goalkeeper Jordan Millar from his loan period at Heriot-Watt University due to an injury to youth stopper Jamie Sneddon.
The visitors forced four corners in the opening ten minutes without causing the Saints defence any problems.
In a half of few chances, Hearts’ Gary Oliver had a header cleared off the line on 28 minutes and Liam Gordon fired a shot past the post as the ball broke from the resulting scramble.
Hearts made a poor start to the second half, pinned into their own half for a full 15 minutes and in this period Saints opened the scoring, Kieran Stewart knocking home a Scott Gray cross from close range.
Oliver almost equalised on 59 minutes, but his angled shot from a Robbie Buchanan pass rebounded off the foot of the post and out to safety.
Hearts were never out of the game, although chances from both sides were few and far between, and Walker almost equalised on 72 minutes with a 25-yard free kick well-saved by Samuel Bunting low at the post.
The match was put to bed on 82 minutes when ex-Hearts youngster Dylan Easton poked home another Gray assist, although Hearts were down to ten men at the time with Gordon off for treatment to a broken nose.
Hearts Under-20s: Millar, Ford, Gordon (Page 83), McGhee, L Smith, Simpson, A Scott, Craigie, Walker, Oliver, Buchanan. Unused subs: Kelby, Daniel, McKirdy.