Tynecastle under-16s continued their journey in the Scottish Youth FA Challenge Cup with a 3-0 defeat of Hamilton Accies Inverclyde at Meggetland Sports Centre.
The Capital side were run close by their visitors from the Paisley, Johnstone and District League but eventually won through to a quarter-final meeting at Lenzie.
Tynecastle coach Greg Healey said: “We won the Scottish Cup in 2009 and 2010 and it is one of our main priorities to win it again. It’s a fantastic cup competition. We’ve got a good squad and I think we can go all the way.”
George Hunter’s finishing was key to Tynecastle’s success, as his hat-trick secured the victory. His first came from the penalty spot at a vital juncture in the game, just before half-time, thus knocking the prepared half-time team talk of Accies coach Colin Stewart into a cocked hat.
His next two goals were fine example’s of a goal-poaching instinct: a finely-placed shot from 18 yards and a curling strike from the edge of the area which completed his well-deserved hat-trick.
However, the visitors never gave up and, had it not been for a fine display of goalkeeping from Tynecastle custodian Cameron Tulloch, the outcome could have been so different.
Tulloch saved his team on a number of occasions and pulled off a superb save after 29 minutes to deny Accies the crucial opening goal before producing two more vital stops with the score at 1-0.
Healey added: “I thought Hamilton slightly shaded the first half. They had a bit more possession than us and had a couple of chances. In the second half, we came out the traps really quickly and put them under a lot of pressure. We pinned them into their own half and that is when we got our goals. We took our chances really well.”
The first chance fell to Tynecastle striker Ryan Clarke but he spurned it, shooting over the bar after four minutes. Accies then motored forward and Craig Caffrey cut into the penalty area from the left, but his shot went into the side netting.
In the 12th minute, Accies’ Aiden Devine failed to test Tulloch when his shot from 14 yards soared narrowly past the post, however, after 29 minutes, Caffrey showed great skill to dribble round Gregor Lockhart but Tulloch denied him with a superb low save.
Tynecastle began to get a foothold on the game a few minutes before half-time. With 36 minutes played, Clarke received the ball inside the penalty area and forced Accies goalkeeper Stewart Arkley into a good low save.
They grabbed their opener two minutes later. Clarke was fouled by Kyle Stewart and Hunter powered his penalty high into the net.
Accies refused to give up, and pushed for an equaliser early in the second half. Tulloch was called into action again after 51 minutes as Caffrey’s shot from the edge of the area was stopped with a low stretching dive.
One minute later, Tulloch pulled off another superb save. This time, Lee Richardson’s shot from seven yards was pushed wide.
Tynecastle doubled their lead after 58 minutes. Euan Lannon passed to Hunter, who placed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net from 18 yards out. Hunter completed his hat-trick with nine minutes remaining. His shot from the edge of the area curled beautifully into the right corner of the goal.
Accies kept pushing for a goal, and Devine struck a long range shot over the bar in stoppage time.
Tynecastle: Cameron Tulloch, Gavin Birrell, Scott Siegel, Bradd Campsie, James Redpath, James Lancastle, Andrew McBride, George Hunter, Ryan Clarke, Euan Lannon, Gregor Lockhart, Darren McGrath, Blake Wales, Clayton Crowther, Shaun Munro, Mark Hall.
Hamilton Academical Inverclyde: Stewart Arkley, Stuart Emerson, Geoffrey Duff, Kyle Stewart, Lee Richardson, Aiden Devine, Fraser Kennedy, Christopher Montgomery, Taylor Curran, Michael Grant, Fraser Black, James Siddle, Aiden Gough, Johnathan Clancy, Craig Caffrey, Ross Geddes.