Tynecastle off to a flier as whirlwind start stuns Leith

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Tynecastle came out of the starting blocks at full pace in the opening game of their Central Taxis Premier Division campaign against newly-promoted Leith Athletic and were three goals ahead within 13 minutes before winning the match 4-2.

Tynecastle’s first-half goal glut, which took them into a 4-1 lead, was a mixture of top-class finishing and some indecisive defending from Leith.

The game was only four minutes old when Steven Leslie picked the ball up in midfield and was allowed to venture to within 20 yards of the Leith goal, where his left-foot shot squirmed under the diving Matthew Banks.

Only two minutes later Leslie was again given an opportunity to wriggle into the penalty box and when the loose ball fell to the edge of the area, Kevin Brown delicately chipped the ball under the crossbar for an exquisite goal.

With 13 minutes on the clock Tynecastle were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out and Daniel McAleavy rattled a left-foot shot behind Banks via the inside of the post.

Leith never gave up and a Gavin Tainsh cross from the right was hit home by Jack Combe, although Tynecastle did score again before the interval with a cracking goal.

James Guy headed the ball into the danger area, where the unmarked Leslie performed a superb overhead bicycle-kick to connect perfectly with the ball which flew into the top corner.

Leith had several opportunities to reduce the leeway in the second half, with Jason Stevens particularly guilty of failing to hit the target, although they did score in the final minute when Lewis Cairns struck a sensational 30-yard free-kick over the outstretched arms of Ewan Smart.

David Bingham, the Tynecastle coach, said: “All our goals had quality about them in a game in which both teams tried to play football the correct way. We have had our ups and downs in the League Cup section and also had a torrid time trying to field a settled back four. Our boys deserve a lot of credit for that win.”

Derek Riddel, the Leith manager, added: “We cannot afford to start games in the Premier Division like that! However, we showed in the second half what we are capable of doing and we created a lot of chances.”

Elsewhere, Spartans opened the defence of their title with a 3-1 away win against Civil Service Strollers, with goals from Chris Anderson, Jack Beesley and Jordan Finnie while Craig Anderson netted for the Strollers.

In the First Division, Preston Athletic beat Heriot Watt University 3-1 with strikes from Euan Campbell, Darren McGlashan and Fraser Henderson, while Simon Ferrie scored a late consolation for the students. Peebles Rovers drew 2-2 with Easthouses Lily thanks to goals from Craig Edgar and Gary Knox, with Jamie Shields and an own goal counting for Easthouses. Duns, in their first game in the East Seniors for 38 years, were beaten 2-0 at home by Eyemouth United.