Jason Holt played his first match since breaking his foot in November, but he and his youthful Hearts Under-20s team-mates were on the losing side as they went down 3-1 to St Mirren in Airdrie.
The league match had been switched to the Excelsior Stadium with both Newtongrange and Riccarton unplayable and, due to a lengthy injury list between first-team and under-20 players plus suspensions, a young Hearts side was fielded once more. Gary Oliver, Billy King and Holt were the most experienced outfield players.
A slightly more seasoned St Mirren side began proceedings on the front foot, with Declan Hughes rattling a shot off the crossbar on seven minutes. They took the lead four minutes later when Thomas Reilly steered a shot past Mark Ridgers.
Reilly and Billy King both came close with efforts before Oliver drew Hearts level with a shot from ten yards after an Angus Beith left-wing cross had run loose on 35 minutes.
Reilly gave St Mirren the lead again four minutes later with a close-range shot from a knock back. Within a minute of the second half, Hearts were two goals down, Anton Brady netting from another through ball over the top of the defence.
Coach Robbie Neilson made two changes in a re-shuffle that saw the Tynecastle side have their best spell of the match. Jack Hamilton was also given a 25-minute outing with Sunday’s Youth Cup quarter-final against Queen’s Park in mind.
Hearts: Ridgers (Hamilton 64), L Smith, K Wilson, Gordon, Beith, McKirdy (Page 58), Craigie (Flanagan 52), Holt, A Scott, King, Oliver. Unused subs: Daniel.