HEARTS striker Gordon Smith played and scored in last night’s closed-doors friendly win over Falkirk as manager John McGlynn granted several first-team players game time ahead of Saturday’s season-opening SPL match with St Johnstone.
A Hearts team containing a mixture of senior and youth players beat their Falkirk counterparts 3-0, with Smith, Jamie Walker and Dale Carrick all on target. Danny Grainger, Mehdi Taouil, Arvydas Novikovas, Mark Ridgers and Callum Tapping also featured.
Smith has been absent from all pre-season matches this summer having been hospitalised with a severe bout of tonsilitis. McGlynn opted to leave him in Edinburgh to train at the weekend rather than take him south to face Rotherham United. Last night was his first outing and, as the most experienced back-up for John Sutton, the 21-year-old will have done his chances no harm by scoring.
Likewise, 18-year-old striker Carrick continues to impress as McGlynn looks to the youth team to compensate for his lack of experienced forwards.
Gary Locke, Hearts’ first-team coach, stressed that the management team are pleased with their pre-season preparations. “Everything has been good so far,” he said. “We’ve tried to be sensible about the pre-season but are also working the boys hard. The gaffer and the sports scientist have a program which has gone well. We haven’t had any injury problems. I don’t look too much into results, it’s just a case of getting all the boys game time. Hopefully, come Saturday, everybody’s ready.”
Callum Paterson and Jack Hamilton have both been named in Scotland’s Under-19 squad for the friendly with Germany later this month.