Hearts midfielder Angus Beith made his first appearance of the season as the club’s Under-20s crashed 6-2 against Partick Thistle. The 19-year-old underwent a summer hip operation and finally returned to action as a substitute on a difficult night for the Hearts youngsters at Ochilview.
Defending a three-game unbeaten run, the home team fielded the same side which beat Hibs last week. Waves of torrential rain, before and during the match, would have put many games off, but the plastic pitch in Stenhousemuir stood up well to the conditions. Hearts made a bright start, opening the scoring on seven minutes when Russell McLean netted Calumn Morrison’s right-wing cross from close range.
Thistle were quick on the break against a Hearts side that never really settled on the night. The visitors took advantage of some poor defending to score through Declan McDaid (20 minutes), Neil McLaughlin (32) and Michael McMullin (40) before the break. Hearts were a shade unlucky when a Dale Baxter shot from a Liam Smith pass rebounded from a post four minutes before half-time.
Hearts may have had an ear-bashing during the interval and began the second half brightly. Morrison fired a free-kick into the side netting and substitute Ian Smith saw an angled shot saved.
On 59 minutes, the contest was finished when Leon Jones poked a right-wing cross into his own net. Thistle added two more goals from Kevin Nesbit. The first was a header from Mark Lamont’s cross which looped over Kelby Mason on 68 minutes. Nesbit struck again struck on 75 minutes, steering a McDaid through ball into the net.
Hearts had the last word on a bad night when Jones ensured he scored at both ends by heading home an Ian Smith free-kick from close range two minutes from time.
Hearts: Mason; L Smith, Baur, Jones, L Henderson, Morrison, McKirdy, Buchanan, Moore, Baxter (Beith 62), McLean (I Smith 50). Unused subs: Fisher, Flanagan, C Hamilton, Irving.